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Study Shows Non-Religious Kids Are More Altruistic and Generous Than Religious Ones

personperson Where is my mind?'Merica! Veteran
edited April 2016 in Faith & Religion

“Overall, our findings ... contradict the commonsense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind towards others,” said the authors of The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World, published this week in Current Biology.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/06/religious-children-less-altruistic-secular-kids-study

According to the respected Pew Research Center, which examines attitudes toward and practices of faith, most people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person. In the US, 53% of adults think that faith in God is necessary to morality, a figure which rose to seven of 10 adults in the Middle East and three-quarters of adults in six African countries surveyed by Pew.

I don't have much to add, its a good argument against the "belief in God is necessary for morality"

lobster

Comments

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    How do people in those countries account for all the immoral observers of religion?

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited April 2016

    @Dakini said:
    How do people in those countries account for all the immoral observers of religion?

    I don't know, free will? Satan? They don't account for it?

  • No doubt that research is true.

    For most people religion is just a way to justify vice. By that I mean, the path to a higher calling, demands we examine our shallow religion and go deeper ... and then deeper still ...

    Find Religion. Iz plan.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    All hope is not lost, perhaps empathy can be taught non-denominationally

    http://www.mindful.org/a-kinder-gentler-world/

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    When I was younger, there was a criticism that went, "He's so stupid he could fuck up a wet dream."

    Is there anything so good that, when practiced to extremes, cannot become harmful or cruel? Religion holds itself and is sometimes held by others to a higher and more moral standard, but I see no reason to exempt religion from critique since it, like other pastimes, is a human construct. People are as nice as they can be ... and as cruel and selfish as well.

    If someone were to dismiss religion as an adequate means of providing a happier (more moral?) life, still the longing to be happier would remain and some other construct would probably replace it. But that replacement (humanism, perhaps, or some other more intellectually adorned discipline) would carry with it the same potential to go over the top, screw the pooch or fuck up the wet dream. Happiness is not for sissies and the need to dive deep and dig in seems to invariably raise up the potential/actuality of making some big-time mistakes.

    Without reflection, without digging deep, discipline's uses remain skin deep. But digging deep requires a willingness to go into uncharted territory. "Uncharted territory" means just that ... and if a student does not yet know something, it's a sure bet there will be mistakes.

    Who's more moral? Who's more kind? Whose way works better and is to be preferred? And can any of it be proved? These are the kinds of questions that flesh out the world of what is skin deep.

    Somewhere or other, Gautama was alleged to have said, "It is not what others do and do not do that is my concern. It is what I do and do not do -- that is my concern."

    As I said, happiness is not for sissies.

    Just noodling.

    lobsterdooksta123
  • Altruism and generosity are not some great religion-required achievement. That is just common humanity.

    However those of us attempting Boddhisattvadom [lobster application lost in post] attempt increasing levels of kindness.

    For example 'tough love', refusing to beat masochists, being kind to unkind people - that really messes with their expectations, that sort of thing. ;)

    Initially we should of course be kind BUT what happens when people come to a spiritual forum and wish to be play/hobby Buddhists? How kind can we be? Are we kind according to convention or breaking convention? What is our skilful ability and degree of wisdom? Increasingly we are kind despite appearances ...

    Just as @genkaku says. Go deeper. Be kind.

    person
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    The argument that we have to believe in (G)god(s) to be moral or ethical always seemed like a backwards stand to me.

    It stems from the belief that humans are evil by nature and need rules cast down from an almighty source to keep us all from ripping our throats out.

    My counter point is that if one needs the promise of reward or threat of punishment to be kind then it is their morality that seems questionable.

    Kids are funny in that they will tend to believe what trusted adults tell them. Teach a child that they are evil by nature and that is a seed being watered in their mind. Personally, I would call it abuse.

    Walkerpersonlobsterdooksta123
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @person said:

    @Dakini said:
    How do people in those countries account for all the immoral observers of religion?

    I don't know, free will? Satan? They don't account for it?

    It just seems like awfully simplistic thinking; that participation in a religion automatically makes you moral. Life isn't that black and white.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    What's the old joke that goes something like, "To imagine you are Christian because you go to church is like standing in a garage and imagining you are a car."

    dhammachick
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    What's the old joke that goes something like, "To imagine you are Christian because you go to church is like standing in a garage and imagining you are a car."

    LOL! Good one!

  • @genkaku said:
    When I was younger, there was a criticism that went, "He's so stupid he could fuck up a wet dream."

    Is there anything so good that, when practiced to extremes, cannot become harmful or cruel? Religion holds itself and is sometimes held by others to a higher and more moral standard, but I see no reason to exempt religion from critique since it, like other pastimes, is a human construct. People are as nice as they can be ... and as cruel and selfish as well.

    If someone were to dismiss religion as an adequate means of providing a happier (more moral?) life, still the longing to be happier would remain and some other construct would probably replace it. But that replacement (humanism, perhaps, or some other more intellectually adorned discipline) would carry with it the same potential to go over the top, screw the pooch or fuck up the wet dream. Happiness is not for sissies and the need to dive deep and dig in seems to invariably raise up the potential/actuality of making some big-time mistakes.

    Without reflection, without digging deep, discipline's uses remain skin deep. But digging deep requires a willingness to go into uncharted territory. "Uncharted territory" means just that ... and if a student does not yet know something, it's a sure bet there will be mistakes.

    Who's more moral? Who's more kind? Whose way works better and is to be preferred? And can any of it be proved? These are the kinds of questions that flesh out the world of what is skin deep.

    Somewhere or other, Gautama was alleged to have said, "It is not what others do and do not do that is my concern. It is what I do and do not do -- that is my concern."

    As I said, happiness is not for sissies.

    Just noodling.

    Where'd you get the Buddha quote at the end? I would love to read that sutta. :) Thanks!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I think that focusing on a strict religious value system just has a tendency to create separation. My youngest is 7, and has already been told by friends he could go to hell for not going to church. It just increases that "I do this, and my parents and church elders tel me this is right, and therefore, what you do is wrong." Christianity especially reflects that and even goes so far as to tell them that they should worry for their friends, even as children, who do not share their beliefs.

    When I was young, I was not given a choice. I was baptised and confirmed and at least until I was too big for my mom to drag out of bed, I was forced to go to church as well. I knew early on it wasn't for me. So I made sure not to do it to my kids. They know what my beliefs are, and when questions of life come up, I tell my my point of view. But we also talk about what other people think, too. The focus has always been on how you treat people and look for opportunities to help. The only reason being it is the right thing to do. Not because a book or a God or a bodhisattva said so.

    WalkerlobsterFosdick
  • MX_83MX_83 Explorer

    @karasti said:
    I think that focusing on a strict religious value system just has a tendency to create separation. My youngest is 7, and has already been told by friends he could go to hell for not going to church. It just increases that "I do this, and my parents and church elders tel me this is right, and therefore, what you do is wrong." Christianity especially reflects that and even goes so far as to tell them that they should worry for their friends, even as children, who do not share their beliefs.

    When I was young, I was not given a choice. I was baptised and confirmed and at least until I was too big for my mom to drag out of bed, I was forced to go to church as well. I knew early on it wasn't for me. So I made sure not to do it to my kids.

    Catholics can be kind of harsh. Pretty authoritarian.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @MX_83 I was not raised Catholic. Neither were the kids who told my son he'd go to hell Catholic either.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @MX_83 said:
    Catholics can be kind of harsh. Pretty authoritarian.

    I am Catholic by baptism. My entire family, on my Italian Mother's side, is Catholic.
    I know more Catholics than I could possibly county.
    Not one of them - not a single one, is either harsh OR authoritarian.
    I know - and have heard of - some pretty nasty fundamentalist Baptists, Jehovah's witnesses and Mormons. Not personally, but there's plenty out there, from their own mouths and reported, that bears this out. Just look at Cruz. I don't think he's Catholic. And he terrifies the bejeezus out of a lot of people. Catholics included.

    Fosdick
  • With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.

    Steven Weinberg

    lobsterSwaroopFosdick
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    You know I've been reading this thread with conflicting emotions because I know good and not so good in both camps (religious and non religious). I wonder though if I'm so conflicted because it's still such an issue?

    _ /\ _

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