How religion affects our moral choices in the background


"If there is no God, then everything is permitted?" slightly distorted quote from "the Brothers Karamazov" that two psychologists cognitivists from Turkey made in the title of the scientific article. The study will be published in the may issue of the Journal ofExperimental Social Psychology, and is available on the journal's website, one of the most cited in his field. The authors decided to investigate, really in the modern world where atheism has become common, but of believers, not all recognize the reality of the flames of hell or purgatory, religion still dictates moral choices. It's not necessarily about breaking taboos — not to eat pork or not to fight with your parents — and, in particular, about behavior in situations of "gray zone", which bans the sacred texts do not apply: it may be an economic game with a bet of 50 cents or tests where there is the opportunity to cheat on the little things.

Cognitivity Hassan Bahcekapili and Onurcan Yilmaz from dogush private University in Istanbul began with attempts to resolve a question in a forehead — to take and to ask how it is. The students of the University they distributed a questionnaire about whether there is a universal moral law, one for all times and common to all cultures. It turned out (and it was not a big surprise): what people are religious, so for him this truth clearer. Yes, one law for all. Any "individual circumstances" or "situation" can not be. For example, you can not lie even to save a life.

Believer American makes on average 3.5 times more than the unbeliever, donations to non-religious needs, whether it's saving polar bears or fighting malaria in Africa. In spring 2014, the Pew Research center (Washington, USA) published the results of a survey of 40 080 people from 40 countries. They all had to answer "Yes" or "no" to the question "do I Need to believe in God to be a moral person?". In such diverse countries as the United States and Pakistan, signed up for more than half of respondents in Pakistan, 98 percent in the United States — 53. Russia (38%) was exactly in the middle between US and atheistic France (15 percent). In Turkey, where there are Bahcekapili and Yilmaz, positive answers ("Yes, the moral man necessarily believes in God") — as much as 87 percent.

It may seem that this kind of question "Do you believe in God?" (veiled in order not to deal with infinite response options of "it's complicated"). For the religious person it is natural to think that all good people are religious and atheist — what a good man the religion to anything.

With all this, sociologists know that the position of "moral people — believers" you can even back up the numbers. This is particularly true of philanthropy and volunteerism. In 2006, it was regarded that a Christian American does on average 3.5 times more than the unbeliever, donations to non-religious needs (whether it's saving polar bears or fighting malaria in Africa). Yet American believers often help the homeless and often give up their seats in the subway strangers.

Social network of believers is designed so that participants focus on the behavior of each other. But even this is not enough to consider faith in itself — and not dictated by religious practice external standards — hidden engine of such behavior. In 2013, Robert Putnam of Harvard and his co-authors came up with an active volunteering and charity prosaic explanation: the feeling of comradeship. The Church is first and foremost a community here pray together and spend time together, so religious Americans are automatically involved in more dense network of social relationships than atheists and agnostics, which are rarely United in the clubs. Moreover, the social network of believers is designed so that participants focus on the behavior of each other: just what is wrong will be shunned. What can be said about the networks of professional relationships. It is unlikely your reputation as a designer of interfaces will suffer if you don't gave place to a grandmother on the subway.

Once the supernatural is lost on the background of cultural and social effects of looking there, where these effects have not gained weight in children. Psychologist Jesse Bering led his subjects age five to nine years in the games room. The ball is the target-Velcro: got — got the prize. However, the target is far away, and on the floor drawn line, which was strictly forbidden to cross. Each child explained the rules of the game and left it in. But before that, some reported that next to them is an invisible "Princess Alice", which nevertheless sees everything, and such children have crossed the line far less frequently.

It would seem that with older trick will not work, but Bering repeated slightly modified the experiment with the students-psychologists from the University of Arkansas. Several groups have been invited to pass a test of "rotating shapes in the mind" — and chose for him the most furious of the tasks that are usually given after many weeks of training. For example, you need to imagine how the scan right 12-sided die, painted arrows and circles after being turned for 120 degrees around one of its symmetry axes. Students in between hinted at the error in a test program that allows you to cheat: the correct answer appears on the screen, and you need to immediately press the space bar to be fair. In fact the experimenters were interested only in the reaction time — how quickly people abandon tips.

Children reported that in the next room is an invisible "Princess Alice", which nevertheless sees everything, and such children have crossed the line far less frequently. In the handouts from one of the groups was told that the test is dedicated to the memory of the graduate, unexpectedly died in this room. Still, the experimenters tried to make the students heard the semi-serious conversation about the Ghost that here from time to time see. The idea of the Ghost got psychology students cheat significantly less — in the supposedly accidental appearance of the correct answer on the screen they pressed the space bar on average twice faster than the control group.

To speak about the presence of the supernatural here and now do not have — just a friendly reminder that the supernatural exists. This method of treatment is called "priming", a classic example is when the volunteers after the puzzle where you have to make phrases with the words, reminiscent about old age ("drugs", "lonely", "sentimental", "FL"), start a little slower paced and slightly podrachivat feet. And after this the same exercises with words from the semantic field of religion ("God", "sacred", "divine", "spirit", "prophet") the test subjects begin to behave more altruistically in different economic games. The results of the experiment were published in the scientific journal Psychological Science under the title "God sees you".

A Turkish team surprises began when the researchers tested the trick with the puzzle (all the same spirit-God-the prophet-the sacred, the divine) on the group of students before they sat down to fill out a questionnaire about "General moral law." This was enough to experimental group approached the questions in the questionnaire is even more radical than the control.

After that, the question about the strength and depth of faith that makes it possible for, say, insulting religious feelings, removed itself. It is pointless to require the believer who has come to defend his hurt feelings in court, that he at least read the "our father" by heart in proof that he really is a Christian. To the person woke up with a conservative view of morality, do not need the intensity of medieval religious life. To spend days and nights in the temple, not necessarily — just a background mention of religious holidays on the radio, a calendar with the saints in the subway: these few trifles in the mode of priming can already Wake the intolerance. published

Author: Borislav Kozlovsky

P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©



See also

New and interesting