Feb 28 2010
I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to state outright that religions tend to promote in-group thinking and behavior. Coupled with feelings of righteousness. A natural consequence of this is . . . a heightened perception of “outgroup” members. Those others who are less good.
So this article headline came as no surprise to me: Study Links Religion and Racism
As for the science behind the finding…not bad.
A meta-analysis of 55 independent studies carried out in the United States with more than 20,000 mostly Christian participants has found that members of religious congregations tend to harbor prejudiced views of other races.
Not earth-shaking, but interesting. Noteworthy, sure. As was this related finding:
Her analysis [team leader Wendy Wood] found significantly less racism among people without strong religious beliefs. [bold added]
Man, those secular values, they are so dangerous! Not.
But the point I want to make comes as a consequence of this tidbit found deep down in the article:
“The effect is strongest in the seminary,” Wood said. Of the 55 studies, 14 dealt with highly religious populations such as frequent church attendees and seminarians. [bold added]
Seminarians are most racist of the groups studied. Hmm. There they are, spending their days with the supposedly heart-and-soul-altering teachings of their allegedly Good Book . . . and?
Exactly! There is religion AND there are all these other factors that influence morality.
Religion strikes me as a placebo treatment. When it works, it works because people think it is going to work. But does it have real value?