Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Religion affects behaviour

"After the Baylor Religion Survey, American Piety in the 21st Century, was released last September, two sociology professors were intrigued by the findings and decided to write a new book, Who is Your God?


Some people interviewed had very strong religious beliefs, but when they were asked to speak about it, they weren't very eloquent Froese said. Those who didn't care much about religion could eloquently express their opinion. [...] Another interesting discovery was that beliefs matter and have a clear, distinct role in other aspects of people's lives. For example, those who have a concrete vision of God also have a very concrete understanding of right and wrong, making them more prone to respect authorities. They are more likely to support the death penalty and the war in Iraq.
People who have an abstract concept of God tend to decide for themselves the difference between good and evil.
"These seemingly abstract theological beliefs have a real world manifest in the sense that they affect behavior," Froese said. "Based on their beliefs is how they act."
The more highly educated a person is, Dougherty said, the more likely that person will see God as distant. He added that people who seek higher education don't see God as engaged in their lives. They want to take action themselves and not depend on God to solve problems. [...] "Baylor University is an example of educated people with Ph. Ds. who also view God as an engaged God," Dougherty said."

The Baylor Lariat, Sept. 25, 2007
That religion affects behaviour is quite obvious, but further, this means that religion is politics, and that there's no such thing as religion being merely a private matter. Well, not anymore than being Republican or Communist. It is a view that you hold that affects your surroundings, and your surroundings may have legitimate reservations to the effects of your views.

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