A recent study showed some interesting findings with respect to belief in hell and crime rates.
According to the study’s author, “the key finding is that, controlling for each other, a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates, and these are strong effects.”
According to the study’s author, there was a strong correlation between belief in hell and lower crime rates.
So we can conclude that people’s belief in hell causes them to be good in order to avoid going there. They act rationally in their own self-interest. The incentive of the spoils of crime are outweighed by the disincentive of going to hell.
If you said yes, go directly to jail. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200.
Correlation doesn’t mean causation.
It simply means that the two factors covary with each other. When one goes up (or down), the other goes up (or down). That’s it.
Our minds are wired to look for causality – a neat explanatory story – where there may not be one. And people often act in a way that is far from rational.
So be careful. Don’t yield to the temptation insert causality where it doesn’t exist just because it makes a good story. You never know where that might land you.