I'm not asking anyone to divulge their private dark past or if any one has a criminal record but I'd like to know what your thoughts are on it? It seems to me religious groups have targeted the prison population. And I every now and then I hear some testimony of a former criminal turning his life around after finding God and now is accepted by some Christian community.
I know this is too general. Some of the things I'd like to see addressed are: Do you think it is harder for someone with criminal history to get accepted in an atheist community or a Christian community? If so is that a good thing or a bad thing and why? Do you think in an atheist community it is best not to talk about your dark past? Does it depend on the crime? Do you know anyone who has turned their life around with reason instead of faith?
The only semi-famous atheist I know who got into trouble breaking some laws is John W. Loftos who wrote "Why I became an Atheist". But if I remember correctly he was still a teenager when he did them, easily chucked off as youthful indiscretion. And right after that he found Jesus before he became an atheist.
Actually religiosity is a common trait of the criminal personality and there are fewer atheists in prison than the religious. I've already described this earlier in this topic, but like you I don't think I've really answered the question. Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this one as its basis provides a rather narrow frame of reference to draw upon for a conclusion - too many variables.
Also "crime prevention" is often a fallacy. It shifts the responsibility for your own safety to other people. Ever heard of "defensive driving"? The same principle applies to life in general. You cannot expect other people to consistently act responsibly nor do they have any realistic obligation to do so. Therefore it is best to observe their conduct and act accordingly to the best of your ability.
Richard - makes sense to me.
"When the concept of God enters the equation, more people feel "watched" and subject to possible consequences. So I'd guess that religion usually plays a more effective role than atheism in reducing criminal behavior."
I don't think most criminals give a shit that a god is possibly watching them before or during a criminal act. Most are not even remorseful.
But isn't it interesting Ed, that 90+% of all those incarcerated, believe in god? Remember that next time a theist tells you that without religion, you wouldn't have morals.
Yeah, it makes about as much sense as the incarcerated black inmates who have anal sex with the wimpy white homosexuals. They (the blacks) will tell you straight up that they are not homosexual because as soon as they get back out into the 'freeworld' they will find their woman. To me at a minimum they are bisexual. Such is life on the inside.
The term is colloquially known as, "the down-low" --
This topic made me think about my favourite Television show that is returning soon..."Dexter".
"Do you think it is harder for someone with criminal history to get accepted in an atheist community or a Christian community?"
Interesting question. I have mulled it over in my head several times now. Having no experience from a theistic point of view I have came to the conclusion that I don't think there is a difference in acceptance per-say. I would think that as humans we all pretty much view criminals in the same light. I would however stretch out to say that the level of acceptance could hugely reflect on the nature of the committed crimes, and - or time frame lapsed since being committed. I would certainly be wary around anyone whom I found out to be say, a convicted pedophile or aggravated rapist. Those types of crime do not sit easy with me. I'm sure we are all holding some sort of behavioral threshold. There are also many other crime levels I am uncomfortable with.
"Do you think in an atheist community it is best not to talk about your dark past? Does it depend on the crime?"
I think it best not to divulge a dark past in any community. Especially an online forum. That could just be asking for trouble or worse. Of Course there is the "depending on the crime" variable. The atheist community accepts you for your disbelief in any gods. Anything else you want to share there is up to you.
I am a great supporter of the anonymous factors of the internet. Some things, it's just best we don't know.
"Do you know anyone who has turned their life around with reason instead of faith?"
I contend that anyone who has turned their life around has accomplished it by reason and not faith. They just don't know that yet.
While what you've done in the past is an indication of what you're CAPABLE of doing, it's no predictor of what you WILL do. From this second forward, YOU can decide what you will be and what you will do.
@ Archaeopteryx - I think "reputation" is a very important regulating factor. Of course, it doesn't always regulate towards "good".
Reputation requires information and is easily disarmed by silence.
But then reputation is all about what other people say, and we can't control that. If we move to a new area, our reputation can be left behind and we have a chance to build a new one.
I see what you mean (I think) - if other people don't know about something we've done, they can't talk about it. Ah, but what if they find out?