Study: Less Religious Are More Motivated by Compassion Than Highly Religious
Religious bigots and fundamentalists often try to color atheism and atheists as evil or bad by portraying them as lacking compassion and care, but the opposite might actually be true according to this study.
Are religious people more moved by compassion than those who described themselves as less religious or non-religious?
A group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley set out to answer that question and what they found would surprise some: In three experiments, the social scientists found that the less religious were more generous when presented with situations that stimulated their compassion, which the scientists defined as “an emotion felt when people see the suffering of others which then motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost.”
Here’s how Berkeley sums up the study in its press release:
“The results challenge a widespread assumption that acts of generosity and charity are largely driven by feelings of empathy and compassion, researchers said. In the study, the link between compassion and generosity was found to be stronger for those who identified as being non-religious or less religious.
“‘Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,’ said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a co-author of the study. ‘The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.’”