A story in Slate asks the question, “Does religion make you nice? And, does atheism make you mean?” The article describes the perceptions that people have about atheists and the research that does indeed show that people who attend religious communities tend to be nicer, give more and are happier than atheists. However, the author, Paul Bloom, suggests that the underlying quality that makes people nice may not necessarily be religion but, instead, community. Taking into consideration the happiness factor for generally godless people groups like the Swedes and the Danes—strong community seems to be a big bond. These countries rate higher in happiness and experience less crime than other religious people groups.
What are your thoughts? What does this tell us about the role of community?