God—Could He Have Stopped Jeffrey Dahmer?

In an interview with Stone Phillips of Dateline NBC (rebroadcast last week), ghoul Jeffrey Dahmer asserts that he committed his horrible acts because he did not believe in a supreme deity. Without such a belief, he said, a person is not accountable to anyone. Belief in evolution contributes to immorality because the theory posits that “we all just came from the slime.” When his father Lionel sent him “creation science” literature, Dahmer finally saw the light. He realized evolution was a lie and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into his life.

Serial killer Jeffry Dahmer

The Holy Spirit rewarded Jeffrey by moving another inmate to beat him to death in 1994. Christians have not yet made Dahmer their poster child for Christ. Why not? After all, if belief in a supreme being can change a murderer like Jeffrey Dahmer into a good person, then it ought to be good enough to put the ordinary criminal on a moral path. Make Dahmer an example in a good way.

Then again, if belief in a supreme being is correlated with superior morality, and if superior morality makes society less violent and criminal, then the United States should be the least violent and crime-ridden region in the north-western quadrant of the world. And Europe should be a cesspool of crime and violence. Moreover, Europe should suffer from a great frequency of many other dysfunctions, such as abortion, juvenile mortality rates, suicides, teenage pregnancy, and so forth.

Gregory Paul, in the Journal of Religion and Society (2005) looks at data from Interpol, as well as other sources, and compared abortion, juvenile morality, murder, suicide and teenage pregnancy in religious and secular democracies and finds that the United States is the world’s only prosperous democracy where these dysfunctions remain high, a fact that would surprise Jeffrey Dahmer and his father because United States is also unique in its extraordinarily degree of religiosity. A large majority of Americans (around 90 percent) believe in a supreme deity and more than half of the population believe in creationism. In Europe, far fewer believe in god, and a majority accept the theory of evolution.

Why is the association so backwards? Why would anybody believe that belief in a supreme being would make society more moral in the first place? First, the Good Book is chockfull of violence. Nonbelievers are slaughtered, their livestock killed, their villages burned to the ground. Adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, those who do not observe the Sabbath, even insubordinate children are killed. Second, Christians are the perpetrators of the Crusades, in which untold thousands were slaughtered. And, if another religion played a big role in the Crusades, then how about the Inquisition? Many more thousands were tortured and killed in the most brutal fashion imaginable. And that one was entirely on the Christians. Third, even in modern times, Christians, in the name of protecting the flock from godless communists and other heathens, have supported actions that have resulted in the deaths of millions.

No, I’m afraid religious belief won’t stop the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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