The Effect of Religion on Crime and Deviancy: Hellfire in the 12st Century
The Effect of Religion on Crime and Delinquency: Hellfire in the 21st Century. Although there has been much research on the relationship between religiosity and the prevention of criminal/deviant behaviour (mainly from the U.S) over the last 60 years, definitive evidence of an effect has not been forthcoming. The common sense view is that religion does indeed deter/prevent crime and that it does so through providing a socio-cultural and/or spiritual foundation for control of individual/group level behaviour. So, what are the main problems in assessing the effects of religion on crime and deviancy? One of the main issues is that the research to date has almost solely focused on Christianity and whilst some studies have broadened the scope of their research to address Judaism, there is little to no literature on the wider faith/spirituality context. This paper will critique Hirschi & Stark’s ‘Hellfire Hypothesis’ as well as consider a number of more mainstream criminological theories such as Rational Choice, Social Control and Differential Association. It will argue that it is vital to view the religion-crime relationship through the wider lens of faith, spirituality and morality. Issues that will be discussed include: Christianity representing ‘religion’ as a whole, question framing that precludes research participation by other faiths, the problematic and widespread use of the word ‘deter’ in the current literature and the need for an interdisciplinary approach.
Citation : Sadique, K. (2014) The Effect of Religion on Crime and Deviancy: Hellfire in the 21st Century (15 May 2014) Faith and Criminal Justice Symposium, London South Bank University
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : No