one of the things that leftists like to bring up (and rightfully so) is that the red/religious states tend to have higher rates of pathologies (homicide, illegitimate births etc). I had always wondered why that was the case and have spent years trying to think of a good explanation. Obviously the red states tend to have more minorities (more on that later) but even when looking at whites, I think there is something of a difference.
The thing I liken it to is looking at life outcomes of people in Alcoholics Anonymous vs people not in Alcoholics Anonymous. I would assume that people not in AA do better than those without since going to AA means an admission of some problem and usually the problem is not just alcoholism in and of itself. I see church in that regard as a type of place where people go to psychologically better themselves and an admission that not all is right. But AA actually has a high rate of relapse and I think the same thing could be said for religion.
So regular people who don’t experience much of life’s afflictions don’t need religion the same way that non-alcoholics don’t need AA. Another explanation is that people with higher IQs are more likely to be skeptical of religion and high IQ is also correlated with law-abidingness and what have you.