Atheists/Agnostics and Compassion

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these findings:

Religious People Less Driven by Compassion Than Are Atheists and Agnostics, Study Says

via The Good Atheist on Facebook

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3 thoughts on “Atheists/Agnostics and Compassion

  1. Makes sense. Catholic church goers give money to charities (and the church) during collections every Sunday. The priest asks them to give and they give. This is admirable and the source of a ton of charitable funds, but the generosity is not triggered by compassion. I’ve asked Catholics immediately after the collection who they just donated to and most of them can’t tell me.

    People who don’t go to church, and don’t have a sense of obligation to give, only give out of compassion.

  2. I agree. That’s a very interesting study, but I guess it makes sense once you think about it. We’re intrinsically motivated, because we don’t believe we’ve been told to do something by a higher power. So when we do decide to give money to someone in need, it’s because we want to, not because we’ve been told to.

  3. Well there could be additional factors, in fact I’m certain there are. But I would assert that there is some kind of social selection. In a climate hostile to atheism there will be some kind of selection. Being an atheist in this environment will most certainly correlate with scepticism and self-conscious behavior in my humble opinion.

    However this does mean that in environments hostile to religion, religious people would tend to be more ethical, granted they aren’t ideological nutbags (which in my opinion are more likely to be religious). Any data on this ?

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