More on God and guns

So Seth Masket liked my post of yesterday of a couple of days ago looking at international data on religiosity and homicide rates.  To further stick it to the Mike Huckabee types, he kept it in America and looked at church attendance and murder rate by state:

Here’s another way of looking at the question. In the scatterplot below, I have plotted out the percent of Americans who claim to attend a church, mosque, or synagogue at least weekly with the rates of firearms deaths per 100,000 residents in each U.S. state. What do we find?
The relationship between religiosity and gun deaths is positive. Now, this doesn’t mean that religiosity causes violence, and there are a lot of other factors out there that predict gun violence, including poverty, local gun laws, and culture (notice how the upper right quadrant is almost entirely southern states?). But it seems reasonable to conclude that our society’s “turning away from God” is not a primary reason for gun deaths.

In a fun moment I was telling my junior social scientist about this today (i.e., my oldest, David) and he started speculating on how church attendance might be directly related to homicide rate.  I then, of course, explained that this is a great example of spurious correlation and that surely what was driving this relationship– as Seth pointed out– is the South.  Where they love God.   And shooting people.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to More on God and guns

  1. Mike says:

    If it’s one thing I’ve learned in life, those who can’t think their way out of a problem tend to use violence.

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