RD Extra: Does Religion Make Us Better People? (Galen’s Bulldog Edition)

Does Religion Make Us Better People? An Empirical Critique of the Religious Prosociality Hypothesis.

Does religion make us happier, healthier and more helpful? A number of popular psychology books and articles argue that religion is a positive force for enhancing the health and well-being of both individuals and whole communities. A careful examination of the social psychological literature, however, reveals a complicated relationship between religion and “pro-social” traits that defies such a simple characterization. Luke Galen, Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University, recently reviewed dozens of studies on religion and pro-social traits for the American Psychological Association’s Psychology Bulletin, exposing some of the misleading ways in which this research is conducted and presented to the public. For this talk Jeremy Beahan (instructor of Philosophy and World Religions at Kendall College of Art and Design and co-host of the popular Reasonable Doubts Podcast) will summarize key details of the review in a way that is accessible to non-professionals and reveal the devil lurking in the details.

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Episode Links:
Research Report: Does Religion Really Make Us Better People? By Luke Galen and Jeremy Beahan (Free Inquiry Volume 33 No 4)

Does religious belief promote prosociality? A critical examination.

Galen, Luke W.
Psychological Bulletin, Vol 138(5), Sep 2012, 876-906. doi: 10.1037/a0028251

 

RD Extra: Debate – Is Belief in God Irrational? Chris Hallquist vs. Randal Rauser

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.47.20 PMIn late 2013, Chris Hallquist and Randal Rauser participated in a debate on the rationality of belief in God.  This debate was not a live debate, rather it was a series of audio exchanges that took place in late 2013.  The exchanges were according to agreed upon time limitations on each section. For each of their several sections, the debaters were given at least a week to analyze, script and record their entries before submitting it to their opponent.  Each submission, has been edited together in the agreed upon order for your listening interest.  As one speaker ends, the next will follow without interruption.

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Debate: Does the God of Christianity Exist? Max Andrews vs. Justin Schieber

andrews_v_schieberDoes the God of Christianity Exist? 

This debate was not a live debate, rather it was a series of audio exchanges that took place through the months of June and July of 2013 between Max Andrews of (Sententias.org) and Justin Schieber (Doubtcast.org). The exchanges were according to agreed upon time limitations on each section. For each of their several sections, the debaters were given at least a week to analyze, script and record their entries before submitting it to their opponent. Each submission, has been edited together in the agreed upon order for your listening interest. As one speaker ends, the next will follow without interruption.

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RD Extra: A Skeptical Review of Religious Prosociality Research with Luke Galen

This RD extra features a lecture by Luke Galen “A Skeptical Review of Religious Prosociality” delivered to CFI Michigan June 26th 2013

It is often suggested that religion leads individuals to be more prosocial, that is, more cooperative, generous, friendly, and happy. A commonly held belief is that “religion makes better neighbors”. However, a closer examination of the research supporting these claims yields important qualifications to this relationship. Dr. Galen will offer some common examples of these types of studies and invite the audience to ask critical questions regarding the types of conclusions that can be drawn from the “religion makes you good” literature.

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And for everyone who asked for references…get a load of this:

References

1. Brooks, A. C. (2006). Who really cares: The surprising truth about compassionate conservatism. New York, NY: Basic Books.

2. Saroglou, V. (2010). Religiousness as a cultural adaptation of basic traits: A five-factor model perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14, (1), 108–125. doi:10.1177/1088868309352322

3. Myers, D. G. (2000). The funds, friends, and faith of happy people. American Psychologist, 55, (1), 56–67. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.56

4. Myers, D. G. (2008). A friendly letter to skeptics and atheists: Musings on why God is good and faith isn’t evil. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

5. Putnam, R. D., & Campbell, D. E. (2010). American grace: How religion divides and unites us. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

6. Bering, J. (Jul. 1, 2012).  Don’t Trust the Godless. Slate. http://www.salon.com/2012/07/01/dont_trust_the_godless/

7. Galen, L.W. (2012). Does Religious Belief Promote Prosociality?: A Critical Examination. Psychological Bulletin, 138, (5), 876-906. doi: 10.1037/a0028251

8. Ellison, C. G. (1992). Are religious people nice people? Evidence from the National Survey of Black Americans. Social Forces, 71, (2), 411–430. doi: 10.1093/sf/71.2.411

9. Saroglou, V., Pichon, I., Trompette, L., Verschueren, M., & Dernelle, R. (2005). Prosocial behavior and religion: New evidence based on projective measures and peer ratings. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44, (3), 323–348. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00289.x

10. Rowatt, W. C., Franklin, L. M., & Cotton, M. (2005). Patterns and personality correlates of implicit and explicit attitudes toward Christians and Muslims. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44, (1), 29–43. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00263.x

11. Galen, L. W., Smith, C. M., Knapp, N., & Wyngarden, N. (2011[lg1] ). Perceptions of religious and non-religious targets: Exploring the effects of perceivers’ religious fundamentalism. Journal of Applied Social Psychology,41, (9), 2123–2143. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00810.x

12. Widman, D. R., Corcoran, K. E., & Nagy, R. E. (2009). Belonging to the same religion enhances the opinion of others’ kindness and morality. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 3, (4), 281–289.

13. Galen, L.W., & Ver Wey, A. (July, 2012). Unpacking religious prosociality: Personality ratings are contaminated by religious stereotype and ingroup bias. Symposium presented at the 16th meeting of the European Conference on Personality, Trieste, Italy.

14. Naumann, L. P., Vazire, S., Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2009). Personality judgments based on physical appearance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, (12), 1661–1671. doi:10.1177/0146167209346309

15. Highfield, R., Wiseman, R., & Jenkins, R. (2009). In your face. New Scientist, 201, (2695), 28–32. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(09)60447-4

16. Diener, E., Tay, L., & Myers, D. G. (2011). The religion paradox: If religion makes people happy, why are so many dropping out? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, (6), 1278–1290. doi:10.1037/a0024402

17. American Association of Fundraising Counsel Trust for Philanthropy (2002). Giving USA: The annual report on philanthropy for the year 2002. New York, NY: American Association of Fundraising Counsel.

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19. Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. (2007). Geography and giving: The culture of philanthropy in New England and the nation. Boston, MA: Boston Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/research_sites/cwp/pdf/geoandgiving2007.pdf

20. Ben-Ner, A., McCall, B. P., Stephane, M., & Wang, H. (2009). Identity and in-group/out-group differentiation in work and giving behaviors: Experimental evidence. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 72, (1), 153–170. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2009.05.007

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22. Tan, J. H. W., & Vogel, C. (2008). Religion and trust: An experimental study. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29, (6), 832–848. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2008.03.002

23. Norenzayan, A., & Shariff, A. F. (2008). The origin and evolution of religious prosociality. Science, 322, (5898), 58 – 62. doi:10.1126/science. 1158757

24. Saroglou, V. (2006, Spring). Religion’s role in prosocial behavior: Myth or reality? Psychology of Religion Newsletter, 31, 1–8.

25. Pepper, M., Jackson, T., & Uzzell, D. (2010). A study of multidimensional religion constructs and values in the United Kingdom. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49, (1), 127–146. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2009.01496.x

26. Saroglou, V., Delpierre, V., & Dernelle, R. (2004). Values and religiosity: A meta-analysis of studies using Schwartz’s model. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, (4), 721–734. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2003.10.005

27. Orbell, J., Goldman, M., Mulford, M., & Dawes, R. (1992). Religion, context, and constraint toward strangers. Rationality and Society, 4, (3), 291–307. doi:10.1177/1043463192004003004

28. Randolph-Seng, B., & Nielsen, M. E. (2007). Honesty: One effect of primed religious representations. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 17, (4), 303–315. doi:10.1080/10508610701572812

29. Ahmed, A. M., & Salas, O. (2009). Is the hand of God involved in human cooperation? International Journal of Social Economics, 36, (1/2), 70–80. doi:10.1108/03068290910921190

30. Paciotti, B., Richerson, P., Baum, B., Lubell, M., Waring, T., McElreath, R., … Edsten, E. (2011). Are religious individuals more generous, trusting, and cooperative? An experimental test of the effect of religion on prosociality. In D. C. Wood (Series Ed.) & L. Obadia & D. C. Wood (Vol. Eds.), Research in Economic Anthropology: Vol. 31. The economics of religion: Anthropological approaches (pp. 267–305). Bingley, England: Emerald. doi:10.1108/S0190-1281(2011)0000031014

31. Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2007). God is watching you: Priming God concepts increases prosocial behavior in an anonymous economic game. Psychological Science, 18, (9), 803– 809. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01983.x

32. Ahmed, A. M., & Salas, O. (2008). In the back of your mind: Subliminal influences of religious concepts on prosocial behavior (Working Papers in Economics No. 331). Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. Retrieved from http://gupea.ub.gu.se/bitstream/2077/18838/4/gupea_2077_18838_4.pdf

33. Sasaki, J. Y., & Kim, H. S. (2011). At the intersection of culture and religion: A cultural analysis of religion’s implications for secondary control and social affiliation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, (2), 401–414. doi:10.1037/a0021849

34. Laurin, K., Kay, A. C., & Fitzsimons, G. M. (2011). Divergent effects of activating thoughts of God on self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, (1), 4–21. doi:10.1037/a0025971

35. Baumeister, R. F., Bauer, I. M., & Lloyd, S. A. (2010). Choice, free will, and religion. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2, (2), 67–82. doi:10.1037/a0018455

36. Gervais, W. M., & Norenzayan, A. (2012). Like a camera in the sky? Thinking about God increases public self-awareness and socially desirable responding. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, (1), 298–302. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.09.006

37. Pichon, I., Boccato, G., & Saroglou, V. (2007). Nonconscious influences of religion on prosociality: A priming study. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37, (5), 1032–1045. doi:10.1002/ejsp.416

38. Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2007). God is watching you: Priming God concepts increases prosocial behavior in an anonymous economic game. Psychological Science, 18, (9), 803–809. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01983.x

39. Bateson, M., Nettle, D., & Roberts, G. (2006). Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting. Biology Letters, 2, (3), 412–414. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0509

40. Batson, C. D., Thompson, E. R., Seuferling, G., Whitney, H., & Strongman, J. A. (1999). Moral hypocrisy: Appearing moral to oneself without being so. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, (3), 525–537. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.77.3.525

41. Norenzayan, A., & Shariff, A. F. (2008). The origin and evolution of religious prosociality. Science, 322, (5898), 58 – 62. doi:10.1126/science. 1158757

42. Smith, R. E., Wheeler, G., & Diener, E. (1975). Faith without works: Jesus people, resistance to temptation, and altruism. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 5, (4), 320–330. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.1975.tb00684.x

43. Williamson, W. P., & Assadi, A. (2005). Religious orientation, incentive, self-esteem, and gender as predictors of academic dishonesty: An experimental approach. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 27, (1), 137–158.

44. Gervais, W. M. (2011). Finding the faithless: Perceived atheist prevalence reduces anti-atheist prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, (4), 543–556. doi:10.1177/0146167211399583

45. Bushman, B. J., Ridge, R. D., Das, E., Key, C. W., & Busath, G. L. (2007). When God sanctions killing: Effect of scriptural violence on aggression. Psychological Science, 18, (3), 204 –207. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01873.x

46. Leach, M. M., Berman, M. E., & Eubanks, L. (2008). Religious activities, religious orientation, and aggressive behavior. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47, (2), 311–319. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2008.00409.x

47. Saroglou, V., Corneille, O., & Van Cappellen, P. (2009). “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”: Religious priming activates submissive thoughts and behaviors. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 19, (3), 143–154. doi:10.1080/10508610902880063

48. Van Cappellen, P., Corneille, O., Cols, S., & Saroglou, V. (2011). Beyond mere compliance to authority figures: Religious priming increases conformity to informational influence among submissive people. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 21, (2), 97–105. doi:10.1080/10508619.2011.556995

49. Vilaythong Tran, O., Lindner, N. M., & Nosek, B. A. (2010). “Do unto others”: Effects of priming the golden rule on Buddhists’ and Christians’ attitudes toward gay people. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49, (3), 494–506. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2010.01524.x

50. Johnson, M. K., Rowatt, W. C., & LaBouff, J. (2010). Priming Christian religious concepts increases racial prejudice. Social Psychological & Personality Science, 1, (2), 119–126. doi:10.1177/1948550609357246

51. LaBouff, J., Rowatt, W. C., Johnson, M. K., & Finkle, C. (2012). Differences in attitudes towards outgroups in a religious or non-religious context in a multi-national sample: A situational context priming study. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 22, (1), 1-9. doi:10.1080/10508619.2012.634778

52. Rowatt, W. C., Ottenbreit, A., Nesselroade, K. P., Jr., & Cunningham, P. A. (2002). On being holier-than-thou or humbler-than-thee: A social-psychological perspective on religiousness and humility. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 41, (2), 227–237. doi:10.1111/1468-5906.00113

53. Burris, C. T., & Jackson, L. M. (2000). Social identity and the true believer: Responses to threatened self-stereotypes among the intrinsically religious. British Journal of Social Psychology, 39, (2), 257–278.doi:10.1348/014466600164462

54. Alicke, M., & Sedikides, C. (2009). Self-enhancement and self-protection: What they are and what they do. European Review of Social Psychology, 20, (1), 1–48. doi:10.1080/10463280802613866

55. Burris, C. T., & Navara, G. S. (2002). Morality play or playing morality? Intrinsic religious orientation and socially desirable responding. Self and Identity, 1, (1), 67–76. doi:10.1080/152988602317232812

56. McCullough, M. E., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (1999). Religion and the forgiving personality. Journal of Personality, 67, (6), 1141–1164. doi:10.1111/1467-6494.00085

57. Brown, R. P., Barnes, C. D., & Campbell, N. J. (2007). Fundamentalism and forgiveness. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, (6), 1437–1447. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2007.04.025

58. Tsang, J.-A., Schulwitz, A., & Carlisle, R. D. (2011). An experimental test of the relationship between religion and gratitude. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 4, (1), 40–55. doi:10.1037/a0025632

59. Leach, M. M., Berman, M. E., & Eubanks, L. (2008). Religious activities, religious orientation, and aggressive behavior. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47, (2), 311–319. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2008.00409.x

60. Greer, T., Berman, M., Varan, V., Bobrycki, L., & Watson, S. (2005). We are a religious people; we are a vengeful people. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44, (1), 45–57. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00264.x

61. Hood, R. W., Jr., Hill, P. C., & Spilka, B. (2009). The psychology of religion: An empirical approach (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

62. Blogowska, J., & Saroglou, V. (2011). Religious fundamentalism and limited prosociality as a function of the target. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50, (1), 44–60. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2010.01551.x

63. Batson, C. D. (1991). The altruism question: Toward a social psychological answer. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

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65. Ji, C. C., Pendergraft, L., & Perry, M. (2006). Religiosity, altruism, and altruistic hypocrisy: Evidence from Protestant adolescents. Review of Religious Research, 48, (2), 156–178.

66. Garos, S., Beggan, J. K., & Kluck, A. (2004). Temptation bias: Seeing oneself as better able than others to resist temptation. In R. L. Piedmont & D. O. Moberg (Eds.), Research in the social scientific study of religion (Vol. 15, pp. 235–260). Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill.

67. Smith, T. B., McCullough, M. E., & Poll, J. (2003). Religiousness and depression: Evidence for a main effect and the moderating influence of stressful life events. Psychological Bulletin, 129, (4), 614–636. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.129.4.614

68. Smith, B. G., & Stark, R. (2009, September 4). Religious attendance relates to generosity worldwide. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/122807/Religious-Attendance-Relates-Generosity-Worldwide.aspx

69. Lim, C., & Putnam, R. D. (2010). Religion, social networks, and life satisfaction. American Sociological Review, 75, (6), 914–933. doi:10.1177/0003122410386686

70. Galen, L. W., & Kloet, J. (2011). Mental well-being in the religious and the non-religious: Evidence for a curvilinear relationship. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 14, (7), 673– 689. doi:10.1080/13674676.2010.510829

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72. Curlin, F. A., Dugdale, L. S., Lantos, J. D., & Chin, M. H. (2007). Do religious physicians disproportionately care for the underserved? Annals of Family Medicine, 5, (4), 353–360. doi:10.1370/afm.677

73. Galen, L. W., & Kloet, J. (2011). Personality and social integration factors distinguishing nonreligious from religious groups: The importance of controlling for attendance and demographics. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 33, (2), 205–228.

74. Bock, D. C., & Warren, N. C. (1972). Religious belief as a factor in obedience to destructive demands. Review of Religious Research, 13,(3), 185–191. doi:10.2307/3510781

75. Oliner, S. P., & Oliner, P. M. (1988). The altruistic personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe. New York, NY: Free Press.

76. Hagerty, B.B. (Jan 13, 2011). Army’s ‘Spiritual Fitness’ test angers some soldiers. http://www.npr.org/2011/01/13/132904866/armys-spiritual-fitness-test-angers-some-soldiers

 

RD Extra: Etcetera debate: The Status of God in the 21st Century – Featuring Justin Schieber & Scott Smith

schiebervsmithLast month Justin Schieber was invited by Etcetera to Traverse City, Michigan to debate/discuss with Scott Smith (CApologetics.org) the ‘Status of God in the 21st Century‘.  The lively discussion touched on a wide range of topics from moral intuitions to the strength of positing a God as an explanation.

 

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RD Extra: Orme vs Shieber Debate – Does The Christian God Exist?

orme_vs_schieber

 

For this RD Extra, we give you a lengthy debate on the existence of the Christian god. Arguing in the affirmative is apologist Jared Orme of Conversion Points Radio and in the negative, Justin Schieber. Reasonable Doubts wants to thank Jared for the time and effort he put into this exchange

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RD Extra: The Nativity Debate with Jonathan Pearce and Randal Rauser

why_does_mary_look_like_a_dudeDon’t get into heated debates with your family this Christmas without first getting your facts straight. Check out this debate between Jonathan Pearce and Randal Rauser on the historical reliability of the Nativity narratives so you can impress your family by being the most informed troublemaker at the dinner table. Merry Christmas from the Doubtcasters!

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RD Extra: Is Abortion Murder? (Debate)

Contrary to what we hear shouted from both sides of the pro-choice/pro-life divide, abortion actually is a complicated issue. Is it possible to make progress on an issue that seems to straddle the line of our deepest philosophical differences? If it is, it certainly won’t be done with pictures of dead fetus’ or insisting that a women’s right to choose is the only morally relevant factor to consider.
This RD extra is a debate between Justin Schieber and John Barron on the issue of abortion. John keeps a blog at Siftingreality.com. There John blogs about Christianity, atheism, gay marriage and, of course, abortion.

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RD Extra: The Problem of Non-God Objects

This RD Extra is a lecture delivered by Justin Schieber to CFI Michigan on August 22nd 2012

Discription: In this week’s presentation, Justin Schieber will present – and defend from possible objections – an argument against a Christian view of the divine that insists upon God’s perfection while maintaining that God alone is responsible for intentionally creating non-god objects.The Christian scriptures seem clear; John 1:3 says ‘All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.’ They are equally clear about this God’s ontological and moral perfection. But, are these beliefs compatible with the existence of non-God objects?

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