Global Peace Index rankings


1 Iceland

2 New Zealand

3 Japan

4 Denmark

5 Czech Republic

6 Austria

7 Finland

8 Canada

9 Norway

10 Slovenia



82 United States of America




Besides Slovenia and Austria, all of these nations have a massive atheist population.  Do you think there is a direct link between the two?  Or do you think that atheism arrises out of more stable nations?


Any thoughts?

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Replies to This Discussion

I think there is a strong link between religion and fear.  The more frightened a person is the more likely they are to turn to religion which (IMO) is why some of the most dangerous countries in the world are also the most religious.  I think stability is probably a major contributing factor to secularism.  However, China has a very large non religious community, but I am not sure how safe it is there.


I looked up several lists and consistently these countries were on the most dangerous list:

Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen.



China is a strange case because theists are (generally) oppressed there.
There's definitely a link but I don't know what it is.

Extremely interesting correlation. Thank you for posting this. Perhaps the link is as follows (speculation only): There is a massively high incidence of warring on a civil, global and interpersonal level in the name of religion. People who believe strongly in religion act strongly in the name of religion. People who believe strongly in religion also have a high propensity towards irrationality. People who believe strongly in religion have more consequences after death than they do while they are alive. In the world's major religions, we have the absence of the following: personal responsibility, free will and tolerance of conflicting ways of life. People who believe strongly in religion make it a part of their personalities, their identities and their moral structure. if we group these things together, one logical consequence would be the relinquishing of peace in order to assert an irrational dominant theistic belief system. If one takes religion out of the equation, what else is there to get so huffed up about? Money? Land? Quite possibly... but are any of these part of ones moral fibre? The essence of your very being?

Moreover, the leaders of these areas understand how easily these populations can be manipulated through religion. This is a very old idea from centuries passed, and perhaps the root that spawned all major religions; the idea of using religious peons to gain prosperity and power is perhaps the main driving force behind it all. Like was said here, fear is a major driving force.


Curiously, most of the countries listed also score extremely high on the Education Index (adult literacy) and world education rankings (child proficiency in school at grade level) and we all know that education is the key to open-mindedness, free-thinking and independent problem solving skills. I am of the opinion that religious countries deliberately withhold proper and comprehensive education in order to continue to manipulate its population into their belief system.

I think religion is, and has always been, one of the determining factors for warfare. Generalization, certainly, but if you think about it, religion has nearly always been a factor in pre- or post- warfare politics.

Some awesome thoughts guys and girls!  Thanks for pointing out China, Grace.  I never really took the time to read about their stance on religion.  They're definitely an odd country, and I think the violence there is more to do with the oppression from their government-- as well as some awful living conditions in certain parts of the country.


Boo: I loved your reply, and agree with everything you said.  I got my girlfriend to read your post too, which she really enjoyed as well.  Governments definitely still use religion to control/lead their people.  The Bush administration was great at this.  I think fear is a huge theme in this discussion, which is somewhat ironic... since all of us here (I assume) have all heard the question from theists: "Aren't you scared of death?".  The general population of theists probably think that atheists all live in fear, which from my experience is not the case at all.


You know, now that I think about it, when I say "a link between atheism and peace" I really mean a link between "rationality and peace."  hahah which is A) Quite obvious; and B) Quite obnoxious.  I don't really care though.  A lot of the time I hate using the word atheist, because it implies that the belief in a god is somehow more credible than say... a belief in mermaids.  This is quickly turning into a rant, but what I want to say is...


Fear is the driving force in all things irrational, and without fear we open our selves up to knowledge and with that comes acceptance and a rational, peaceful outlook on life.

It's a bit chicken and egg isn't it.  It might be that people turn to religion when there is war because they feel scared for their life and the lives of their loved ones - which is a catalyst for people to think more about death and what happens after death and therefore their religious beliefs.

I don't think there is a link between peaceful nations and Atheism. Sure, there would be many Atheists in most of the listed countries but, that's as far as it goes ! For example, Australia has many Atheistic and Agnostic people but historically gets involved in British and American wars on the basis that the favour might be returned some day, if needed.

Furthermore, Atheist states such as revolutionary France, the former Soviet Union, China and Albania were, or are aggressive military states internationally with harsh civil codes.

Atheists are not necessarily peaceful people.

In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, 'L'armée c'est la nation'.

there could well be a link though between rightous justification for war and religion - well in any case religion is cited a lot when it comes to wars...  from my limited knowledge of reasons for war....


EG the latest god is on our side that Bush came up with when fighting the war against evil of Saddam Hussein.

Agreed. Although atheism does not cause peace, parcontre, religion is cited as a reason for war. Therefore, by default, there is a greater chance of wars occurring in/from religious nations and a decreased chance from the majority of non-religious nations. That isn't to say, of course, that non-religious nations would never participate in war - it's simply to state that religion, whether the reason or the cause, is linked to a higher likelihood of war occurring.

A thought just occurred... although "L'armée c'est la nation" was the mindset during that revolution, it wasn't enough to sustain la nation comme un état de guerre. Might this suggest that religion is responsible (even if only in part) to sustaining the war mentality?

And let us not forget that this index measures internal and external conflicts, including; level of violent crimes, number of homicides, political instability, etc. How a nation acts within its own borders is often a stronger indicator of threat level than how it acts outside its own borders.

Religion has been a cause and/or contributor to many conflicts in recorded history, I agree.

Both Napoleon and Hitler realised the effectiveness of religion in maintaining a nation in a state of war and were not adverse to using religion to their advantage, if needed. In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, 'Les peuples passent, les trônes s'écroulent, l'église demeure'. The religious institutions were very powerful and influenced the populace extensively.

Even though religion has caused most wars historically, I doubt you could say that the lack of religion insights peace. Generally speaking Communist countries are anti-religion but pro-war. Historically many groups have used religion to explain their war state. Now if everyone could have one religion or no religion you would think there would be no war. Fat chance, they would fight over the colors of the flag or something even dumber. 





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