Researchers have studied the influence of religion on morality. Are religious people also more moral people? The answer may surprise you.
Many people have continually debated the foundation of morality, which many believe is found through religion. Using a holy book for the principles and rules that every life should follow, many preach that their religion is what started us onto the path of knowing right and wrong. However, one recent study states the connection between religion and morality is nonexistent.
This study used over one thousand smartphone owners with a wide range of demographics across the United States and Canada. They were asked to discuss any moral and immoral actions that they may have done and their feelings about them throughout the day. The researchers came to several conclusions. One of which is the fact that religious people were much more expressive and emotional upon doing any action, either moral or immoral. They would either show glowing pride or disgusted shamefulness. However, the actual amount or significance in regards to moral decision-making capacity for any of the acts in the survey was no different between the religious and non-religious.
While the primary finding that religion does not seem to positively or negatively affect one’s ability to stay moral, many religiously affiliated readers of the study are finding comfort in the fact that the religious find more pride and gratitude in committing moral acts. On the other hand, the non-religious are probably also happy feeling less guilty when committing immoral acts. Compared to their religious counterparts, non-religious reactions are more mild for both moral and immoral actions.
Besides religious differences, the study also took into account political affiliations. Contrary to popular belief, the two political sides of conservative and liberal share a lot in common when it comes to morality. According to Linda Skitka, a psychologist with the University of Illinois at Chicago, “Our findings are important because they reveal that even though there are some small differences in the degree to which liberals and conservatives emphasize different moral priorities, the moral priorities they have are more similar than different.”