How does belief in God impact society?


Belief in God impacts society in various significant ways:

  1. Social and Moral Cohesion: explains that big God religions provided a foundation for the development of well-functioning secular institutions, which eventually reduced the need for religious adherence as a means of societal order. In societies with strong social safety nets, the necessity for religion tends to diminish, exemplified by places like Europe where atheism is more prevalent due to better social security 1.

  2. Cultural Evolution and Cooperation: The belief in moralizing gods, common in religions like Christianity and Islam, has historically led to greater cooperation and pro-social behavior across societies. This includes increased fairness in interactions not just within in-groups but also towards out-group members, facilitating larger societal structures 2.

  3. Political Divides and Social Services: As discussed by , the decline in religious affiliation in places like the U.S., particularly among 'nones' (those without religious affiliation), can lead to weakened social services traditionally provided by religious organizations. Furthermore, religion historically served as a 'bridge-building' institution that fostered interactions and understanding between people of differing political beliefs, the decline of which may exacerbate polarization 3.

    Religion and Society

    Joseph discusses how big God religions facilitated the development of secular institutions, leading to a decline in religiosity. Tyler questions the factors influencing atheism in societies like Japan, delving into the blurred lines between religion and spirituality.

    Conversations with Tyler

    Joseph Henrich on Cultural Evolution, WEIRD Societies, and Life Among Tribes | Convos with Tyler
  4. Influence on Ideologies: notes that belief in God, particularly as described in traditional religions like Christianity, significantly influences societal views on family, gender roles, and ethical behaviors, affecting everything from political ideologies to everyday interactions 4.

These aspects highlight the complex interaction between belief in God, societal structures, and cultural evolution, suggesting both historical and contemporary relevance.