The following is a collection of excerpts from a much larger work concerning the affects of religion in curbing bad behavior. Large portions have been omitted to give the reader just a general idea. ************************************************************ African American belief in God is unequivocally positive. An overwhelming number of African-Americans identify themselves as Christian and in a poll conducted by the Barna Research Group; the top-rated goal selected by 94 percent of African-Americans when asked to identify their goals in life was "to have a close, personal relationship with God", surpassing even choices of good health and comfort, which ranks significantly higher than either whites or Hispanics. Church is also important in African America with nearly 50 percent of African-Americans attending church on a given Sunday, which is about 5 percent to 10 percent higher than the national standard. In addition, 83 percent of African-Americans say their religious faith is very important in their lives compared to 68 percent of whites. The International Social Survey Program received 62 percent favorable response to the question; "I know God exists and have no doubts about it," in the white community, whereas nearly 90 percent of Africans American responded favorably. In fact, 82 percent of African Americans believe that God is "the all powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator who rules the world today." Statistics for praying and reading the Bible also vary widely as 94 percent of African Americans reported praying regularly compared to the national average of 77 percent and were twice as likely compared to other Americans to have read from the Bible in the past week. The national average for Bible readership is 31 percent. Research also showed that blacks are more likely to believe the Bible is totally accurate 64-41 percent compared to whites showing a considerable gap in those who believe the Bible to be inerrant. Not only are African Americans more likely to believe in God, they are also more likely to believe their prayers are answered and in times of crisis 92 percent of African-Americans are "absolutely certain" they can count on God to answer their prayers, which is substantially more than whites or Hispanics. However, that actions speak louder than words is a truism meaning that what one does often overshadows what one says. That we often do not 'practice what we preach' is another truism that has its roots in the observance of how belief and behavior are often at odds with one another. Normally, the difference is not worth commenting on except when it is made a key element or differentiator among groups and individuals. When we claim to follow a higher standard that differentiates us from the rest of common humanity, then we are expected to live up to that higher standard and we will be judged at that higher standard without the benefit of mercy. Christianity and Christian education is viewed by a vast majority of Americans as being able to solve many of the problems of American society. However, it appears that this view of Christianity may largely be a case of "preaching to the choir" as more than 85 percent of the United States all ready claims to be Christian. Simplistic, one-dimensional thinking invites interpolation to say it is the remaining 15 percent who are the problem, but a closer examination shows that the real problem may be closer to home. Following the thinking that if 85 percent of the country identify themselves as Christian then it must it must follow that the other 15 percent is causing all the problems we are experiencing in this country, it seems that the cause of the problems has been identified. Of course, this is ridiculous and for a variety of reasons and foremost among them is that it shows an improper correlation. For instance, 90 percent of state and federal penitentiary inmates identify themselves as Christian but to say that Christians are the root of crime is just as ludicrous. Although the number in the black community claiming Christianity is even higher than the national standard, it is readily apparent that in both the white and black communities there is much lip service paid to moral living as the figures do not bear out the success of religion or anything else as being effective in curbing bad behavior. George Gallup Jr., son of the founder of the Gallup organization saw the trend in 1995 when he said, "While religion is highly popular in this country, survey evidence suggests that it does not change people's lives to the degree one would expect from the level of professed faith." A close look at professed faith and actual behavior reveals a clear disparity between the two that shows that religion has little to no behavioral effect on the majority of the nation as a whole as well as in the black community showing that there is a significant gap between believing and behaving. In the black community, the incidence of crime, illegal drug use, alcoholism, illegitimate births and lesser social bad behavior has remained constant despite the high degree of Christianity. There are a variety of reasons for this discrepancy including living conditions, poverty and social stigmatization. . . . As much as Americans like to blame teenagers for a variety of social ills, in reality we find that when we point a finger that at least three of them are pointing back at us and that's because in reality-adults are the source of many of our problems. For instance, 80 percent of the children born out of wedlock are born to women over 20 years old, with almost half born to mothers between 20 and 29. The same statistics hold true for abortion with less than 20 percent going to females under 20 years old. Even the rate of sexually transmitted disease is significantly higher among adults. Official views of premarital sex are largely hypocritical as moral conservatives are quick to condemn it as long as it involves teenagers, but the moral police are not so vociferous when it comes to premarital sex between "consenting" adults. More than half of Americans believe that it is not wrong for adults to engage in premarital sex, while nearly 75 percent believe it is wrong for teenagers to do so. Teens seem to catch the brunt of the criticism for behavior that is not only common among adults but also is accepted and is even depicted as acceptable in regular television programming and movies. In other words we have adopted a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude regarding sexual behavior. The subject barely crosses the lips of the clergy who now seem to turn a blind eye to adult behavior of this type and maybe with good reason. A survey of Southern Baptist pastors by the Journal of Pastoral Care said that 14 percent of the pastors surveyed admitted to engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior. The same pastors reported that they had counseled at least one woman who reported having intercourse with another minister. If the recent "love child" scandal involving the Rev. Jesse Jackson is any indicator, it is clear that not even the clergy are not immune to the whims of human behavior. In fact, a 1997 Newsweek article pointed out that various surveys show that as many as 30 percent of male Protestant ministers have had sexual intercourse with women other than their wives. A survey of Protestant clergy by Leadership Magazine found that 12 percent admitted to sexual intercourse outside of marriage and that 23 percent reported doing something sexually inappropriate with some one not their spouse. The same researchers also interviewed a thousand Leadership subscribers and 45 percent admitted to sexually inappropriate behavior and 23 percent to extramarital intercourse. A 1992 survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago showed that 90 percent of the men and 94 percent of the women surveyed felt that extramarital sex was wrong. However, out of this same group 25 percent of the men and 17 percent of the women had been unfaithful. Obviously, there is a double standard in place or-blinders. To add more fuel to the morality fire a 1997 Associated Press survey showed that 22 percent of married men and 14 percent of married women have strayed at least once during their marriage. The poll also showed that there is no appreciable difference in infidelity rates between women or men. Still, 90 percent of Americans believe that adultery is morally wrong. Although divorce rates have remained stable in the United States, one out two marriages still end in divorce which has a destabilizing affect on families, birthrates and even sexual behavior. Still, it is strange that in an overwhelmingly Christian country Christians are more likely to get divorced than other religions. Nationally, 27 percent of Baptists have been divorced. The number is even higher among non-denominational Christians at 34 percent. Atheists and agnostics had the lowest rate overall at 21 percent. Increasingly marriage rates are down and birthrates are up. The major increases in the never-married population have occurred among blacks. Between 1975 and 1999, the percentage of blacks that have never been married increased from 32 percent to 44 percent. The percentage of blacks who are married declined from over 42 percent in 1975 to 32 percent in 1999. Nearly 23 percent of African American households are now headed by women with children. The number of births to unmarried women came to an annual total of 1.3 million in 1999 of which more than half were born to women over 20 with the highest increase among African American women between 20-29. While it seems Americans may wink their eye at premarital sex between adults nearly 39 percent of nonmarital births are due to an increased amount of "shacking up" among unmarried couples, which is 10 percent increase over years earlier. . . . Approximately 11 million people use marijuana on a regular basis and almost 2 million use cocaine regularly with African Americans constituting 15 percent of current U.S. drug users and 15 percent of cocaine users. According to ASAP Family: Drug and Alcohol Statistics, 10 percent of all workers have an alcohol problem and 6 percent of all workers have a drug problem. Currently, the illegal drug industry ranks in size with Mobil Oil as our second largest business-only Exxon is larger making cocaine our leading cash flow drug at 26-32 billion per year. Basically, this is just a brief surface brush as I have left out figures for gambling, prostitution, users of prostitutes, pornography, lying, cheating and stealing among other social crimes. In my book, I go into each of these categories and tell who is doing it and their ties to religion. The research I've done so far shows nothing more than human beings being human beings. However, this in no way absolves either the religionists, believers or nonbeliever of their transgressions, it simply points out that religion hasn't had much affect in curbing the excessive behavior of humanity and that there is no logical reason to assume that more religion will make a difference.