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Mass Shootings and Religion: A Hard Look at the Numbers

Gun control debates have lost some of their edge, but they aren’t dead. Rather than entertain the usual mumbo jumbo, we thought today would be better spent focusing on a different outlook.

Does religion have any bearing on mass shootings?

We analyzed the numbers, and it looks like there is strong evidence to suggest religion is a major player.

Hard Numbers

Let’s start by defining our criteria. We’re looking at data since 1998 to keep things modern. This will include all of the modern school shootings and a number of other significant events. We’re also only looking at mass public shootings, defined as a shooting that killed four or more people and happened in a public location. We’re also deliberately ignoring gang violence for these stats.

We should also talk about how to identify the religious affiliation of the shooters. Simply put, journalists investigated the religion of each shooter. Many could be readily identified, but if a shooter had no clear indications of following any religion, we are classifying them as unreligious or unaffiliated with any religion. You can note that this is different from active atheism.

With all of that set, we can see that there have been 66 shootings since 1998. A total of 69 shooters were involved. Among all of them, only three can be described as active Christians. The vast majority had no identifiable religion. We can note that none were identified as Hindu, Jewish or belonging to a number of other popular religions around the globe.

That said, six were devout Muslim, and one identified as Buddhist. Altogether, you can see that religion of any kind is a small contributor to the motivations of mass shooters. But, this is specifically about religion, so we’ll look at how these numbers compare in more detail.

Population Proportion

The left loves these statistics, so we’ll play along. If they can use these methods to explain why a black man is more likely to be shot by the police, then why can’t we use them to see which religions are most violent?

We’ll start by looking at those crusading Christians. Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 70 to 83 percent of Americans identify as Christian. We’ll use the low end to try to make Christianity look as bad as possible. Accounting for 70 percent of the population, Christians committed only 4.3 percent of mass shootings. This will be our benchmark.

Muslims paint a different picture. They account for roughly one percent of the population. Their representation in mass shootings is still small, at 8.7 percent, but when you talk about proportional representation, this suggests that a Muslim in America is 140 times more likely to be a mass shooter than any given Christian in the country. Not a good look.

The Buddhist representation is obviously too small for good statistics, but we’ll include it for fun. Buddhists represent about 0.7 percent of the population and committed 1 mass shooting. Put it together, and they are 35 times as likely to commit a mass shooting as Christians.

Of course, the biggest group merits the most attention: the non-religious. This group makes up 22.8 percent of our population and committed 83 percent of the crimes. That’s more than a little significant. It shows that someone with no religion in this country is 60 times more likely to be a mass shooter than a corresponding Christian.

Here are the proportional takeaways. Jewish Americans are the most peaceful since they account for 0 mass shootings and still represent a significant population sample. Buddhists are too rare to count fairly (as are a number of other religions). Christian influence clearly dramatically reduces the chance of someone become a mass shooter, and Muslim influence skyrockets that risk.

An Honest Discussion

Population proportion isn’t a very good metric to use for things like this. Mostly, they’re a method to twist the truth to say whatever you want. It’s the only way you can try to claim that a black man is more likely to be shot by the police than his white counterpart. That’s statistically untrue, but with proportional comparisons, you can make it look true.

The reality is that we only have enough data to compare two groups: Christians and non-Christians. Based on the samples, it is clear that Christianity does decrease the likelihood that someone will commit a mass shooting. In fact, the data suggests its the very best resource we have to mitigate this problem.

Banning guns hasn’t helped (97 percent of these shootings were in gun-free zones). In fact, legislation in general has had no measurable impact. If you want to stop school shootings, and mass shootings in general, the answer is obvious. Bring God back. The numbers don’t lie.

~ National Gun Network

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  1. mike kaiser says

    someone finally gets it .PRAISE GOD ..

    1. Russ Walker says

      Pfft. Do the same study in Sweden, or Norway, or the UK, or Holland. What a load of tosh!

  2. RJ says

    I agree with the premise of the article. However, other contributing factors could morals in the home and political leanings. I would love to see statistics especially on whether these shooters identified as conservatives or liberals.

    1. Bruce Andrews says

      Morals in the home, school and elsewhere all come back to GOD. The article’s conclusion to bring GOD back. Is, in fact, the only good solution for all things in this Nation and in the world. When GOD (YHVH to be clear) is put first blessings come peace prevails and a Nation prospers. This goes right down to the neighborhood one lives in.

  3. DAN says

    Anyone ever noticed when they took prayer out of school things went down hill ever since . It always amazed me how that got done by one woman .

    1. Larry Schillinger says

      You are absolutely right. I was in grade school when schools began to throw God out, and have personally witnessed our nation fall in a downward spiral for without God, the only thing is the influence of Satan and his demons.

  4. Doc says

    Your “study” is so flawed and unscientific I don’t even know what to say! As an avowed atheist I have attended many atheist conventions and I can tell you unequivocally that atheists are very anti- gun and would never own one. Unreasonable thinking but none the less. I own several for the usual reasons.

    How do you know the killers without religious affiliation didn’t believe in God? Many people are believers and don’t ascribe to a particular organized religion or attend church. Were these men asked? Unlikely as most are dead usually at their own hands. How do “journalists” get this information. Do family members really know what goes on in the minds of these men? Doubtful. They barely notice their mental flaws and illnesses or ignore them. Muslim mass murderers are generally under the influence
    Allah for sure… we know that…but your sample number is small and you show no reliable evidence of how this information was obtained or if it is in any way valid. In other words it is garbage.

    1. Bruce Andrews says

      Being in law enforcement for over 32 years I can tell you, you are full of crap. I have investigated numerous cases involving persons that claim to be atheist. All of these not only owned guns but had one or more on them at the time of their arrest. I can also tell you that many that claim to be atheist are in fact more likely to be agnostic. But that is a subject for another time and place. I have found many atheists to be illiterate in many things including GOD’s word. It has been quite easy to determine a persons affection or destain toward GOD. A person that hates GOD or disavows his existence has very low morals in general and this is why I get to know them and become familiar with how they think and how they would react to various situations. An atheist would be more likely to lie, cheat, steal and yes murder than a true Christian. I do so pray that you find your way back to Christ Jesus. This you should know. Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a reality. We all are living it every minute of every day. After this flesh life, ALL face GOD. Think about it.

      1. J Burroughs says

        Having served in combat situations, I Have found that there were no Atheists in Fox holes. You are right Bruce.

  5. Dexter L. Wilson says

    Contact your Senators and Congress Person and remind them they have the power to correct this travesty of Judicial Activism by passing a law that does not allow the Supreme Court to adjudicate it.
    Look up this email address for the real reason for the school shootings:
    There were no problems with guns and shootings like now until the unlawful Supreme Court decision in 1963 in making the US government totally secular. When I was a high school student, students Brought their rifles to school in anticipation of hunting seasons.
    After the Supreme Court in 1963 made us a Secular Nation, unlawfully, crime and violence increased by 544%. Jefferson never intended their Danbury Baptist interpretation.
    The Anglicans had fined, persecuted, jailed and even killed Christians who were not part of the state-established church, but Jefferson, a lifelong fervent advocate for the rights of religious liberty and religious conscience, had worked hard to protect and defend those Christians.
    To hear that Jefferson was a zealous defender of the rights of Christians may seem unusual to those who know Jefferson only by today’s errant portrayal as being a secularist who desired “a separation of church and state.” Jefferson definitely was not a secularist, and furthermore, his definition of separation of church and state actually was to keep the state from becoming secular!
    (Many of the remarkable beliefs held by Thomas Jefferson not only on religious liberty but also in many other surprising areas are set forth in the popular book The Jefferson Lies by David Barton.)
    The rights of religious conscience that Jefferson and other Founders had contended for were subsequently enshrined at the federal level in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Jefferson made numerous bold declarations about these precious rights:
    No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience.
    [O]ur rulers can have no authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted.
    [I]t is inconsistent with the spirit of our laws and Constitution to force tender consciences.
    Jefferson started church services in the capital in 1800 and even paid the Marine band to provide the music. He attended these services every Sunday he was president and these services lasted 60 years. The Supreme Court broke the law.
    Religious Freedom Day is celebrated in America each year on January 16 — the date of the 1786 passage of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. That measure ended the state-established church in Virginia, finally protecting religious rights for all denominations.

  6. Corey says

    If you have 63 data points but can’t find data to fill them, the honest thing is not to count them at all. It’s like saying you shot 66 people, but since only 3 complained, the rest must be happy. Or you broke into 66 houses but you only got arrested 3 times, so you decide the other 63 homeowners didn’t want the stuff you stole.

    If you have no data on 63 of your shooters, you don’t get to make up any old answer to fit your theory. Don’t pretend the absence of data is meaningful.

    1. Larry Schillinger, RN, BSN says

      I think you need to work on your reading comprehension. The writer told you up front it was not a scientific study. What he was able to do however was show a correlation of Christian verses non-Christians. With his correlation, it is very easy to see we as a nation must bring God back in to our society. As a note, I have a BSN, and have been trained and have completed statistical sampling and studies.

  7. amused by ignorance says

    school shootings since 1998.. let us use + mdocumented sourcese in that article and go forward…

    I got your 69th school shooting starting 1998 on april 26th 2009. overall I get 237 until you made that post.

    As you have made no definition of religion for the people, we can easily discard your argument, as you goit no proof whatsoever that holds credibility.

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