Is Religion Bad For Kids? Study Finds Nonreligious Kids Are More Generous

Does religion make children selfish? According to a recent study published in Current Biology, that appears to be the consensus. Raw Story reports that kids that are brought up in Christian and Muslim households tend to have a lack of altruism that nonreligious children and adults seem to exhibit at a higher level.

The authors of the study tested over 1,000 kids from various religious backgrounds and different parts of the world, and the determination may come as a shock to religious families who pride themselves in being pious. The study determined that there was a noticeable “generosity gap” between religious and nonreligious children (and adults). In fact, the study has determined that the more religious a child’s household is, the more likely the child is to be judgmental. Also, children from these religious families tend to have stronger feelings of vengeance when “done wrong” by others. Jean Decety with the University of Chicago (the lead author of the study) even clarified on the findings with comments.

“Some past research had demonstrated that religious people aren’t more likely to do good than their nonreligious counterparts. Our study goes beyond that by showing that religious people are less generous, and not only adults, but children too.”

Forbes Magazine is among the numerous sources sharing the findings of this latest study. Meanwhile, people on social media are reacting in large numbers to the assertion that religion makes kids less generous than kids from secular households. The reactions are to be expected for this kind of news, with a lot of people expressing agreement and just as many people expressing their disbelief and distrust in the entire study.

@martinvars also less tolerant, envirofriendly and more sexist and violent!

— Enrique Dubois (@EnriqueDubois) November 5, 2015

This also isn’t the first study to indicate that atheists are more charitable, generous, or even more intelligent than their religious counterparts. Back in 2013, a study indicated that nonreligious people, on average, are more intelligent than people who believe in deities. The authors of the study concluded that people of intelligence don’t “need” religion, because they are able to fulfill needs on their own that religion provides for other people. Obviously, this study was met with negativity by religious people who felt that their intelligence was being insulted. Of course, the authors of the study have also clarified that they’re not doubting that there are intelligent religionists and unintelligent atheists.

In 2012 it was revealed through research that atheists tend to be more charitable than their religious counterparts. The study’s authors found that agnostics and atheists tend to give to charity out of compassion alone. On the other hand, the study found that religious individuals tend to give out of “reputational concerns,” or the promise of being rewarded through their religious doctrine. This study appears to go hand-in-hand with the most recent study that seems to indicate that religion isn’t good for children’s natural altruism.

Do you agree with the studies that indicate religious kids are more selfish than nonreligious kids?

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