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Christianity Linked With Child Death

Considering the implications of the American Religious Identity Survey’s finding that non-Christianity has been on the rise in the United States over the last twenty years, I wrote an article about the association between poverty and rate of Christianity among the 48 contiguous states (Hawaii and Alaska weren’t included in ARIS). The claims of Prosperity Gospel preachers, that Christians will be more wealthy than non-Christians, because of the assistance of their God, are strongly contradicted by the facts. Placing census data along with the results of ARIS, it’s clear that the states with the highest rate of Christianity are also the poorest group of states in the union.

A reader objected to the conclusion, that Christianity is not linked with prosperity. She wrote, “True prosperity means that you are successful in every area of your life including health, relationships, and financially. Christians are supposed to be prosperous in every area of our lives.” Of course, given that she includes financial prosperity in her definition of “true prosperity” as an essential component, the main point holds – if Christians are not more financially prosperous than non-Christians, the promise of the Prosperity Gospel preachers is proven to be a sham.

But, let’s accept the point that prosperity can be seen as something more than merely financial wealth. Sure, possession of health and strong social relationships can be seen as part of prosperity.

Our reader might have presumed we would accept that Christians enjoy greater health and stronger social relationships than other people, thus counteracting the relative financial poverty of states where Christians exist in greater proportions. That’s not how we do things here at Irregular Times, though. We like to look at things critically, and so I’m going to do my best to examine whether the rate of Christianity in a state is a good predictor of whether the residents of that state are more healthy and socially secure than people in states where Christianity is less common.

I’ll start out with health, because it’s more concrete and easier to assess than quality of relationships (but don’t worry, I’ll get to this concept of social relationships eventually). Let’s start out with a measurement of health that I hope most people could agree is important: Child mortality. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation passes along data on rates of child mortality, by state, gathered by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. I’ve taken that data, and combined it with the rates of self-described Christianity, to create the following scatter plot graph:

christian child mortality usaEach dot in this graph is one of the 48 contiguous states in the USA. As you go from left to right, you get a higher rate of child mortality. As you go from down to up, you get a higher rate of Christianity.

As you can see, there’s a pattern in the distribution of these dots. There are a few outlier states, but a best fit line is easy to draw on this graph, describing a gentle slope upward, from left to right. The trend seen on this graph is that the greater percent of Christians a state has, the higher rate of child death that state has. The 10 states with the highest rates of Christianity have an annual rate of 26 deaths per 100,000 children. The 10 states with the lowest rates of Christianity have an annual rate of 18.4 deaths per 100,000 children.

Quibble if you like about the exact slope of that best fit line, but the fact is that it contradicts the promise of the Prosperity Gospel preachers, who say that God wants people to prosper, and helps people prosper better after they accept Jesus Christ as savior. If the Prosperity Gospel’s claims were true, then we would see a best fit line sloping downward from left to right, with states with the highest proportion of Christians enjoying the lowest rates of child deaths. This extremely precious measurement of human prosperity goes down as a state’s Christianity increases.

28 comments to Christianity Linked With Child Death

  • Jacob

    The simple fact that pagans have little to fall back on besides Prosperity Preachers shows how Christianity is failing in this country and that many of the “Christians” are not so much. I have spent years studying the Bible and there are no claims of Earthly wealth. As I have pointed out on many posts here the Bible actually says the exact opposite. If they Christ was put to death by man why do people who follow him expect different.

    I am sure this is going to ignite some abger on both sides but as I see it there is going to be a line drawn in the sand in the not so distant future. I think America is going to become a place where being a true Christian could get you jail time or worse. I think this country is going to bann preaching on homosexuality. I think this country is going to start calling people who preach Hell guilty of hate crimes. Both sides may disagree on this but I do see that something will happen. REal Christians are becoming less welcome. When that happens watch for the Prosperity Preachers, they will go away. You dont see them in places like China, but those are the places of the greatest Christian growth.

    The riches we get as Christians are not here on Earth, they are with Him and they are Him

    • But these are claims by Christians, not pagans, and there are further claims of healing by prayer, Jacob.

      You may have your beliefs about what’s going to happen in the future, but if you want people to share those beliefs, you’ll need to convince them with arguments based on facts, not just some kind of abstract feeling you get about what the future will be.

  • Jack

    Praise God. He he is good to us even if the world is not.

    • So, do you think that having more children die is good, Jack, or do you think that God is an ineffectual twit who is completely unable to stop the deaths of children?

      Which is it?

  • Jacob

    “Christians” does not always equal “Christ follower”. If I play on a beer league and show up once a week and introduce myself as a baseball player does that mean I should be held in the same company as someone who plays for the Yankees? I think we would all agree thats absurd. Why is it that people who show up at a Benny Hinn revival once a year at most but call themselves Christians get treated different? You are basing your claims on studies which point out what most devout Christians already know. There are a ton of Christians in the world. There are much fewer follors of Christ…

    And still, Christians were never promised Earthy blessings. I would also like to point out that I am not trying to convince anyone. I am simply hear to make sure truth is involved. Your blood is on your own hands just like mine is on my own. We each account for our own decision, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord

    • Well, wait a minute, Jacob. How do you know you’re one of the true followers of Christ, and that the others have it wrong? How do you know that you’re serving your Lord better than anyone else?

      Again, the important point for you to understand is that the absolute number of people categorized as “Christian” doesn’t matter so much as the relative number – which states have more people who identify themselves as Christians is what matters, because we’re measuring the association of higher amounts of Christianity and higher rates of child death.

      Look at the other statistic to understand this. Would you quibble about child deaths, saying that some of the dead children don’t count as actual children? No, because the measurement is standard across states, and so trends across states are reliable.

  • Jacob

    I can look at a Biblical standard to see that showing up once a year doesnt show following. If you really want to play semantics and play that into child deaths you can see a strong corraltion against what you are speaking. You will not find many Christians lining up to have babys killed while they are still in the mothers body. If you take those into account then the numbers change dramatically. Christians dont kill thier children.

    I still mantain my first point though. If you look to the Bible for answers you see no promise to God for prosperity on Earth. If you look to money seeking preachers you get a different story. I guess when you look through a stained glass window you get a very different idea of what is going on in the world. You have chosen a window that is stained. You have decided that you are going to look at prosperity preachers only and let them decide how you are going to classify all Christians

    • Jacob, where does it say in the Bible that you should look through stained glass windows? Where is it prescribed how often you should go to church? How is this a Biblical standard, as opposed to just your own personal opinion. Also, the BIble says not to eat shellfish. So, if someone doesn’t go to Church often, but then eats less shellfish than you, why aren’t they more Christian than you?

      It looks like your measurement of what makes a good Christian is quite subjective, and based upon what you yourself like. Other Christians prefer other aspects of the Christian tradition than the aspects you like, and so you call them not as Christian as you. Has it not occurred to you that they might think that you’re not a good Christian?

      I’d like you to show me data that proves that Christians engage in abortion less than non-Christians. You’re making an awfully big assumption, there.

      As it is, the health statistics I’ve obtained deal with children, not fetuses or embryos. That’s just what the data is, and it shows that in states where the percentage of self-identified Christians is higher are also states where child deaths are higher.

      There is no nationwide survey measuring people that you think are Christians. This is about objective reality, not your attempts to redefine reality to suit your beliefs.

      As for the Bible and promises of prosperity, I wonder how well you’ve read your Bible. Didn’t God make an awful lot of promises about that ole Land of Milk and Honey?

      Psalms:

      Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
      nor standeth in the way of sinners,
      nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
      But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
      And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water
      that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
      his leaf also shall not wither;
      and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

  • Jacob

    This verse refers to the deep seated joy and contentment in God, it refers to redemtive favor. Not to Earthly pleasure.

    The second part gets back into our original debate. “Christinas” who think getting an abortion is ok can not be followers of Christ. the Bible throughout the new testament speaks of the Christian life. If you cannot tell a Christian from a non Christian in action or thought or deeds then it seems like there is no difference and since we will know them by there fruit it is fair to say they are not. By the way, I dont see myslef as a good Christian, I have a LONG way to go.

    The land ole milk and honey you are talking of has two different meanings in scripture. The first is of the promise land which Isreal was lead to which can obvioulsy not mean long term prosperity. The book of Judges sees to that. Secondly it refers to the new Earth, which isnt here either. Keep Scripture in context.

    • Jacob, that’s nonsense. How does this part not refer to Earthly prosperity:

      And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

      ?

      You said that the Bible never promises prosperity, but this clearly does, and so did all the promises of the land of milk and honey. The promise was there, no matter whether the character of God later failed to follow through on the promise.

      How do you reconcile your belief in the power of prayer with the fact that those states where there are more Christians actually have less success keeping their children alive?

  • Jacob

    The debate of prayer is a long a winding road but for a brief overview of why this is as so look in Luke 18:7 and 2 Cor 21:8-9. Prayer isnt always immidatly answered and we dont always get what we pray for. We can also find in areas like Psalm 34:4, Matt. 21:11, Psalm 145:19 and on and on that the power of prayer is limited to those who follow and trust Christ. In James 4:3, Isiah 59:2, Mal. 1:7-9 Jer 14:10 and 12 and on and on that the people who reject God are not heard.

    What does this all mean, A. God doesnt answer on command, B. Gods will will be done, not ours, C. People who do not know Him are not heard. There are thousands of verses on prayer, this is just what I can come up with off the top of my head.

    I cant tell you why children die all I can say is no promise has been given for Christians to avoid grief.

    And no, this verse is not an obvious Earthly blessing. Lets break it down…

    And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water
    that bringeth forth his fruit in his season

    Christ himself or the Word of God are the water that this always elludes to. When we anchor oursleves to Christ our Spiritual life will bloom and it can not whither, which by the way is the result of heat and dryness which is always an allusion to judgment. So when we are planted in Christ we will not pass into judgment which is redemption

    We can go around in circles on this but there is no promise of long term prosperity on Earth for Christians, in fact the exact opposite is true. If Christians were to truely hang their hat on Earthy prosperity we would be gone. there would be no Christians at all on the gospel would have died when the 12 apostles where killed. The gospel would have died when Nero burned Christians as lamps. The Gospel would have died when Severus, the empoer, made it a crime to be a Christian and punished with feeding to the lions. At no point in the gospel or at any point in history until modern day America (notice I only say America) has the prosperity gospel been widely accepted…

    • Nonsense. It’s not at all a long and winding road. It’s very straightforward.

      Your claims about prayer offer a testable hypothesis. Even if God only answered prayers with divine intervention some of the time, there would be a measurable benefit for Christians praying to God as opposed to non-Christians, who don’t pray to God and don’t get any benefit. Yet, the exact opposite trend is shown here with the death of children – Christians aren’t getting the prayer benefit. In fact, they appear to be having a worse time of things. If God is the one who decides what will be done, as you claim, then it appears that God is treating Christians worse than nonChristians, instead of bringing the benefit of occasional prayer intervention.

      Your beliefs are out of touch with measured reality.

      By the way, psalms was written before the birth of Jesus, not after. The verse is not about Jesus, any more than Jane Eyre is about Winston Churchill.

      And if the Prosperity Gospel is not widely accepted, then why are those Prosperity Gospel megachurches jam packed, and getting their sermons broadcast on TV?

  • Jacob

    First off there are hundreds of Christians in the old testament. There is prophesy of his coming as the messiah and he actually shows up a couple of times in person form. In the fire with Mesach Schadrach and Abinigo (I cant spell names) and he wrestled Jacob throught the night. The OT is filled with Jesus. Second if you note I said the only people in the history of man kind to widely accept the prosperity gospel is Americans (you cheery pick my comments and twist just like you do with Scripture).

    I am still trying to figure out why you are trying to have me defend an issue I obviouslty disagree with… I DO NOT SEE ANY CORALATION OR SCRIPTURAL EIDANCE THAT SAYS CHRISTIANS WILL BE MORE BLESSED ON EARTH.

    As far as prayer, It is a long road between a Christian and a non. I prayer and trust in His sovergn will. You demand Him to stand before you and perform miracles so that you can jusge Him. There is a major discontect and yes, that is a long road.

    I think what you will find as given evidence once again through scripture will probably pass through blind eyes. The Bible states it is easier for a a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. You may find that the rich rely on themselves and there for scoff at the idea that they need a savior. The poor are in general a higher persent of Christians. You will find lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, lower wages, worse housing etc. In Christians. Those claims will all hold true. You will also see higher torture rates, higher murder rates, highr persecution rates. You will point to America in the 21st century to counter that but look at the collective history of the church. The idea od prosperity on Earth of Christians is ludacris

    I wonder, and this is just me, not tied to anything. Maybe God allows Christians to have these problems in order to shine a light to the world. Look at the joy these people have in troubled times, that joy is not Earth bound. To me that can be the only reason why people would accept Christ during the “games” in the Roman empiror. People watched Christians being killed and accepted Christ and joined them. Explain how people are willing to die for pie in the sky ideas please. Explain how the apostles could die for something they made up. I want to hear your take on this

    • Jacob, your logic defies the structure of time. Mark Twain’s stories cannot be about the Internet, because the Internet came generations after Mark Twain lived and wrote.

      Same way, the Old Testament cannot be filled with Jesus, because it was written before Jesus was born.

      Jesus is no more in the Old Testament than Google is in A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court.

      Your claim that there are no promises of prosperity depend upon a form of textural interpretation that assumes supernatural defiance of the laws of the universe. It’s not a common ground for a reasonable discussion.

      People agree to die for all kinds of things, Jacob. They die for Communism. They die for nationalism. People died for Hitler and Franco and Pinochet. Altruism and sacrifice were not invented by your religion.

      If your God is really trying to teach Christians a moral lesson by killing their children at higher rates than the children of non-Christians? If that’s really true, your God is a monster.

  • Jacob

    Sorry , first line should read that there are hundreds of links to Christ in the old testament

  • Jacob

    Wow. We are too far apart to even come close. There are 300 some odd referances to Jesus in the OT. I think its funny that you have the idea of God so watered down and limited that you cant even grasp what people are saying. Compare God to Mark Twain. Yea, thats a close comparison. Mark Twain has the same power as God.

    As far as what God is doing in the short term history, I dont know. I made that clear (you failed to read that part). As far as punishing Christians (you failed to read that part to). Christians are not being taught a moral lesson and once again (since you didnt read the first time) this is my idea and I do not claim to speak for God, God shows himslef in others. When a man walks before a lion and keeps faith, that is God. When a man is burned at the stack and sings praise, that is God. I dont want you to explain how people of faith repond to this. I want to know how the people who didnt need faith did this… How did the people who watched Jesus die stand before men and claim Him God while being put to death? Please explain that part. If this is a lie, they started it and pushed it forward and died for a lie. A lie by the way that makes them look like idiots. If you read the NT they didnt say many good things about themselves

    • Okay, tell me exactly where in the Old Testament it says “Jesus”. Where?

      A book is a book. It has to be written, and no one can write a book about events that take place after the book is written.

  • Jacob

    Unless of course you are God…

    I am going to copy and paste the list of prophesy. I dont have them all memorized. Im sure the fact that I have to do these makes what it says less valid, but o well

    Keppin mind: Christ could not have put this list together himself because there where many things outside of his control.

    1. Place of birth (Micah 5:2)
    2. Time of birth (Daniel 9:25; Genesis 49:10)
    3. Manner of birth (Isaiah 7:14)
    4. Betrayal
    5. Manner of death (Psalm 22:16)
    6. People’s reactions (Mocking, spitting, staring, etc.)
    7. Piercing of His side
    8. Burial

    Peter Stoner in Science Speaks (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963) determines the probability of one man fulfilling eight of the prophecies of the Old Testament for the Messiah to be 1 in 10 to the 17th power

    If we took that many silver dollars (100,000,000,000,000,000) and laid them over the State of Texas, they would cover the state two feet deep. Now mark one of the silver dollars, stir the whole mass thoroughly, blindfold a person, and tell him/her that they can travel as far as they want but must pick up one silver dollar and say that it is the marked one. What chance would s/he have of picking up the right one? It would be the exact same odds of anyone fulfilling eight of the Messianic prophecies by chance alone

    Peter Stoner then goes on to consider the possibility of any one person fulfilling 48

    1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

    1. Born of the seed of woman (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4; Matthew 1:20)
    2. Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 24, 25)
    3. Son of God (Psalm 2:7; Matthew 3:17)
    4. Seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16) Here it is determined that the Messiah would be a Jewish descendant.
    5. Son of Isaac (Genesis 21:12; Luke 3:23,34) Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Now God eliminates one half of the lineage of Isaac.
    6. Son of Jacob (Numbers 24:17; Luke 3:23,34) Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Now God eliminates one half of the lineage of Isaac.
    7. Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23,33) Jacob had twelve sons and each became a tribe of the Hebrew nation. Now God eliminates eleven-twelfths of the lineage of Jacob.
    8. Family line of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1; Luke 3:23,32) Now God narrows it down even further by picking one family line out of the tribe of Judah.
    9. House of David (Jeremiah 23:5; Luke 3:23,31) Jesse had at least eight sons (I Samuel 16:10,11). Now God eliminates all of Jesse’s sons except one, David.
    10. Born at Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1) Now God eliminates all the cities in the world except one, Bethlehem.
    11. Presented with gifts (Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 60:6; Matthew 2:1,11)
    12. Herod kills children (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16)
    13. His Pre-Existence (Micah 5:2; Colossians 1:17; John 1:1)
    14. He shall be called Lord (Psalm 110:1; Luke 20:41-44)
    15. He shall be called Immanuel (“God with us”) (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
    16. Shall be a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18; Matthew 21:11)
    17. Shall be a priest (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:5,6)
    18. Shall be a judge (Isaiah 33:22; John 5:30)
    19. Shall be a king (Isaiah 33:22; Matthew 27:37)
    20. Special anointment of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16,17)
    21. He zeal for God (Psalm 69:9; John 2:15-17)
    22. Preceded by a messenger (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1,2)
    23. Ministry to begin in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1,2; Matthew 4:12,13,17)
    24. Ministry of miracles (Isaiah 35:5, 6a; Matthew 9:35)
    25. Teacher of parables (Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34)
    26. He was to enter the temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12)
    27. He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:35,36,37a)
    28. A “Stone Of Stumbling” to the Jewish nation (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7)
    29. “Light” to the Gentiles (Isaiah 60:3; 49:6; Acts 13:47,48a)
    30. His resurrection (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:31)
    31. His ascension (Psalm 68:18a; Acts 1:9)
    32. Seated at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)
    33. Betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Matthew 10:4)
    34. Sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15)
    35. Money to be thrown down in God’s house (Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:5a)
    36. Price given for potter’s filed (Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:7)
    In the previous four prophecies we find in both prophecy and fulfillment the following:

    1. Betrayed
    2. By a friend
    3. For 30 pieces of silver (not 29)
    4. Silver (not gold)
    5. Thrown down (not placed)
    6. In God’s house
    7. Money used to buy potter’s field

    37. Forsaken by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7; Mark 14:50)
    38. Accused by false witnesses (Psalm 35:11; Matthew 26:59-61)
    39. Mute before accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-19)
    40. Wounded and bruised (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 27:26)
    41. Smitten and spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Micah 5:1; Matthew 26:67)
    42. Mocked (Psalm 22:7,8; Matthew 27:31)
    43. Fell under the cross (Psalm 109:24; John 19:17; Luke 23:26)
    44. Hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16; Luke 23:33)
    45. Crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
    46. Made intercession for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
    47. Rejected by his own people (Isaiah 53:3; John 7:5,48)
    48. Hated without a cause (Psalm 69:4; John 15:25)
    49. Friends stood afar off (Psalm 38:11; Luke 23:49)
    50. People shook their heads (Psalm 109:25; Matthew 27:39)
    51. Stared upon (Psalm 22:17; Luke 23:35)
    52. Garments parted and lots cast (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23,24)
    53. Suffered thirst (Pslam 69:21; John 19:28)
    54. Gall and vinegar offered Him (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34)
    55. His forsaken cry (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46)
    56. Committed Himself to God (Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46)
    57. His bones not broken (Psalm 34:20; John 19:33)
    58. His heart broken (Psalm 22:14; John 19:34) The blood and water which came from Jesus’ pierced side are evidences that the heart had literally burst.
    59. His side pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
    60. Darkness over the land (Amos 8:9; Matthew 27:45)
    61. Buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)

    • No, no, no. These verses do not talk about “Jesus”. They give vague statements and never say “Jesus”. Let’s look at your first example, Micah 5:2

      But thou, Bethlehem Eph’ratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

      Where is the word “Jesus” in this?

      You’re counting on similarities in descriptions of Jesus when compared to Old Testament prophecies that don’t mention Jesus at all. Has it not occurred to you that the New Testament was written after the Old Testament, in order to legitimize theological claims that Christianity was a legitimate outgrowth of previous texts? Those Gospels weren’t written for decades after the supposed time of Jesus’s death – and there’s no historical evidence that Jesus even ever really lived.

      I’m asking for an Old Testament text that says “Jesus”. J-E-S-U-S. Not some reinterpretation of a prophecy that the Gospels then cited.

      I’ve given you texts in which the Bible very directly promises prosperity. Now you’re providing nothing to back your statements up, except for retroactive prophecy. Come on.

      I’m

      • Jim

        By the way, such prophetic statements in the Old Testament that – miracle! – turn out to be historically correct… well, there’s historical evidence that they were written after the events they predict. That’s a great way to get an awesome prophesy.

  • Jacob

    “and there’s no historical evidence that Jesus even ever really lived.” This claim came during the life time of the people walked and talked with Jeus. If he never lived, where is the texts of the people saying “who, we didnt crucify any man named Jesus”

    None of the words in your Bible are found in the orginal text. It is written in Hebrew and Greek.

    Yeshua can be found in the Hebrew text which is translated into English as Jesus. I have to agree with you, if you cant read Hebrew or Greek you are at a disadvantage. I dont know why they translated the exact same word differently in the OT and the NT. I have theorys on that but you have clearly stated that you dont want my theories on things…

  • Jacob

    O, and about the vague list. Even a vague list points us in the right direction when put together. I can give you vague directions. Turn left at the red mailbox. Go 5 miles. Go down Oak street etc

    I never have to say the word WalMart but if you follow the directions you still get there.

  • Jacob

    Jim,

    Im not sure where you are pulling your info fro. this argument would have worked brfore 1947, but now there has been found 95% of the Old Testament from pre 47 ad. Once again this was in the time of the people had seen Jesus dead and who would have a lot to gain from saying wait a second. I think my Bible changed…

    I enjoy you jumping into the debate, but please bring facts…

  • RRD

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics redux – again (as with your original statistical post) poor critical thinking. Using statewide statistics about obesity/death rates/etc in perspective of rates of reported Christian belief does not hold up to scrutiny. First, you would have to demonstrate that it is the Christian population that skews the rate, rather than some aspect of the sizable non-christian population. Then you would have to balance the statistics to account for variations in the population from state to state (age, ethnicity, etc).

    You would benefit from memorizing one basic rule – correlation does not equal causation.

    • Read the article. I never claimed causation. I didn’t say that the Christianity caused child death. However, I did claim that the Prosperity Gospel hypothesis was not supported by these numbers. In order to claim that Christianity is truly linked with prosperity, you have to come up with a pretty wild and wacky series of justifications.

      And remember this – this isn’t some ordinary kind of causation we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a Christian belief in a form of supernatural causation, in which all the known laws of the universe are broken by a great big spirit in order to give Christians more wealth, health and social satisfaction than everyone else. Given that’s the nature of the Prosperity Gospel hypothesis, I don’t think that it deserves the benefit of the doubt.

      Besides that, we’re talking about a personal, all-powerful God. Do you really think that if there were such a being, and that being wanted to reward Christians and punish non-Christians, we’d see something other than these numbers? Do you really think we’d see such a weak trend of reward and punishment that it could be covered up by “variations in the population from state to state (age, ethnicity, etc.)?

      The supposed omnipotence of the source of causation being claimed completely changes the appropriate statistical standards, I think…

      …unless you’re claiming that God is weak, which negates the Prosperity Gospel hypothesis as well.

  • Jacob

    The Prosperity Gospel being wrong has nothing to do with God being week. Its the simple fact that the Prosperity Gospel is no gospel at all with no Scriptural correlation…

  • RRD

    As I stated in a previous post (under the wealth article), I am no supporter of the prosperity movement either – my problem is with poor logic. Regardless of godly intervention, the rates of death, obesity, prosperity etc for a given state may demonstrate nothing about its Christian population. Even if a majority are Christian (or whatever) the state numbers may be skewed by behavior or characteristics of the minority if they are sufficiently common. In the states with better numbers, it could be behavior or charateristics of their Christian population that improves the numbers. In the absence of more data, your premise is without foundation. Put another way, it could be that God is providing more wealth (however defined)to Christians and it is extremely bad numbers on the part of all others that bring the overall numbers down

    Similarly, the differences in state wealth, infant mortality, etc are as likely to be influenced by other factors (average age of population, ethnicity, etc) If enough young people move from state A to state B to lower the average age, you are likely to see a decline in median income. Nonetheless, it is possible that the Christians – regardless of age – are earning more than their peers. Again, the data you use to try to make your case is insufficiently specific to be valid.

    This is basically a deductive fallacy

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