From my atheism blog http://tonyjordan37814.blogspot.com/
Nearly all believers in every religion make the claim that religion is good for societies, that belief in their particular God, whether it be Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, or the various gods of Hinduism, leads to unity, health, wealth, peace, and stability. But is this claim reflected by the facts of reality ? Consider the following:
Phil Zuckerman is a Professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. He most recently authored Faith No More:Why People Reject Religion (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Society Without God (NYU Press, 2008). He has researched how religion impacts the quality of life in societies. Zuckerman has found that this claim by believers in gods is the exact opposite of what we really see in the world. Professor Zuckerman has found that the countries around the world with the highest percentage of atheists and agnostics are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy societies, while the most religious societies with high rates of belief in a God or gods are among the most unstable, violent, oppressive, poor and destitute societies (Zuckerman 2006).
According to professor Zuckerman's research:
The 2004 United Nations' Human Development Report ranked 177 countries on a "Human Development Index", by measuring such indicators of societal health as life expectancy, adult literacy, income for each person, educational attainment, and so on. According to this report, the top five nations were Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands. These five countries have notably high degrees of open atheism. The bottom fifty countries were highly religious, lacking significant levels of open atheism.
The United Nations Report on the World Social Situation (2003) found that, of the forty poorest nations (measured by the percentage of population who live on less than one dollar a day), all but Vietnam were highly religious with insignificant levels of atheism.
A study reported in the Journal of Law and Economics (2002) looked at thirty-eight non-African nations and found that the ten with the highest homicide rates were highly religious, with insignificant levels of open atheism. Of the ten nations with the lowest homicide rates, all but Ireland were secular nations with high levels of atheism.
Also according to the 2003 United Nations Report of the World Social Situation, of the thirty-five nations with the highest levels of youth illiteracy all were highly religious with insignificant levels of open atheism.
The most religious nations on earth-particularly those in Africa-have the worst rates of AIDS and HIV infections. The highly irreligious nations of Western Europe, such as those of Scandinavia-where public sex education is supported and taught and birth control is widely available-experience among the lowest rates of AIDS and HIV infections in the world.