Economists searching for reasons why some nations are richer than others have found that those with a wide belief in hell are less corrupt and more prosperous, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
You mean the societal belief that a person could be eternally punished for the sins of this life will make them less corrupt and have more money. Wow that IS unbelievable. I thought the US was rich because we sided with the Jews in WW2 and God is now rewarding us for our faithfulness for protecting his chosen people. /scarsam
It [St Louis Fed] then looked at the relationship between corruption and per capita gross domestic product and found "a strong tendency for countries with relatively low levels of corruption to have relatively high levels of per capita GDP.''
It correlated the belief in hell findings of the World Value Series with a measure of corruption produced by Transparency International.
I would agree with the simple fact that without corruption the economy is more efficient. You have less resources spent fighting corruption, it is easier to get a fair shake at business, and money flows through well established channels where it can be easily seen and tracked.
Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists Inc. Said, "I cannot imagine what the belief in mythological beings or things that don't exist can do for business."
Johnson misses a very important part of the message, while other's belief in eternal damnation does not affect him, it does/should/could affect the person who has those beliefs. Which since businesses are ran by people, it could have an effect on the business. If enough people shared the common belief that you must be a moral person or you will fry in hell, it could have a effect on the entire nation. I find it hard to belief that Johnson is really dumb enough to miss the cause and effect relationship. He strikes back belittling other's beliefs and making himself look angry and hateful. A proper response would have been to attack the study for concentrating on a correlation and not to attack the objects of the study.
In short, Do you think Ken Lay goes to church?
update: Moss has a short bit about it and a link to the orginal study.