"If there’s one generalization you can make about religion and wealth, it’s that the less people believe, the richer they stand a chance of being."
Interesting video explaining why some countries are poor and some are rich. Religion, as you can imagine, doesn't fair too well:
Why is belief quite so bad for wealth creation? Because in general, religiosity is connected up with the idea that the here and now can’t be improved, so you should focus on the spiritual and look forward to a next world instead. It makes quite a bit of sense when you live here. In the rich world on the other hand, people are generally great believers in their capacity to alter their destiny through effort and talent.
Incidentally, to explain the anomaly of the United States, religion seems not to slow
down economic growth here because it is a particular sort of religion: an overwhelmingly Protestant and exceptionally materialistic kind. The American God doesn’t want you to think of building the new Jerusalem in the next world, he wants it here and now in Kansas or Houston.
So according to this video, a particular kind of Protestantism found here in the US enables the US to be one of the most religious countries and one of the most wealthy countries in the world. It sounds to me like he's talking about the prosperity gospel, the kind today espoused by the likes of Joel Osteen, which seems to be uniquely Protestant. It does make sense. American Protestantism tends to emphasizes a strong work ethic, economic materialism, and innovation. And similarly, it's no surprise that many Northern European nations where Protestantism dominates were leaders of the industrial revolution. But that's not to say that Protestantism cannot hinder progress. After all, many if not most of the strongest proponents of intelligent design today are Protestants, and the Amish are all Protestants.
So overall, religion is bad. As the video puts it, "If there’s one generalization you can make about religion and wealth, it’s that the less people believe, the richer they stand a chance of being." That's at least one good reason to continue fighting to end religious belief.