Believing in an involved, morally active God makes people less likely to punish others for rule-breaking, new research finds.
However, the researchers also find that religious belief in general makes people more likely to punish wrongdoers – probably because such punishment is a way to strengthen the community as a whole.
In other words, religion may introduce two conflicting impulses: Punish others for their transgressions, or leave it to the Lord.
The findings, published Tuesday (May 22) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggested that when people believed in a powerful, involved God and when they were reminded of that belief, they were less likely to punish....
When researchers looked at religious beliefs alone, however, they found that people with stronger beliefs were more likely to punish others after being reminded of those beliefs.
How this push-and-pull between punishment and mercy plays out on a daily basis is still unknown. There are many reminders of religion in daily life, Laurin said, especially in courts of law, where witnesses swear on Bibles and promise to tell the truth "so help me God."
"It would be really interesting to look at a courtroom that does that and a courtroom that doesn't do that in terms of how punitive the outcomes end up being for people who are on trial," Laurin said.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 11:53:06 AM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.