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Switch to Forum Live View Religious people are less motivated by compassion
2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 5:48PM #1
Kwinters
Posts: 20,909

In three experiments, social scientists found that compassion consistently drove less religious people to be more generous. For highly religious people, however, compassion was largely unrelated to how generous they were, according to the findings which are published in the July issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.


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."


Compassion is defined in the study as an emotion felt when people see the suffering of others which then motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost.


www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/... 

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 6:49PM #2
Knowsnothing
Posts: 1,150

Science is from the Devil.

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 6:57PM #3
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,771

May 1, 2012 -- 6:49PM, Knowsnothing wrote:


Science is from the Devil.




Since this is a serious subject I assume you are being serious

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 7:04PM #4
Knowsnothing
Posts: 1,150

May 1, 2012 -- 6:57PM, mainecaptain wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 6:49PM, Knowsnothing wrote:


Science is from the Devil.




Since this is a serious subject I assume you are being serious




You know what they say about assumptions...

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 7:11PM #5
Knowsnothing
Posts: 1,150

May 1, 2012 -- 5:48PM, Kwinters wrote:


"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."



So, what if there is no emotional connection?  Just to play Christian advocate here, seeing as how the study seems to have focused on Christians, i.e. the phrase "preached from the pulpit", would Christians go ahead and act based on moral responsibility as opposed to how they personally feel about that person?


Would an atheist be willing to be compassionate, to say, a repentant murderer?  Could an atheist possibly identify emotionally in such a case?

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 7:45PM #6
steven_guy
Posts: 11,739

May 1, 2012 -- 7:11PM, Knowsnothing wrote:

Would an atheist be willing to be compassionate, to say, a repentant murderer?  Could an atheist possibly identify emotionally in such a case?



Someone very close to me was brutally raped and murdered. I do not have any feelings of hate (or any other feelings) towards the man who did it. He is in prison for life for this and several other similar crimes. I think I could forgive the man if he could convince me that he was sorry for Anne's rape and murder. I guess this will never happen because I am never going to visit Mr. Creed. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 8:34PM #7
CaliberCadillac
Posts: 2,867

May 1, 2012 -- 5:48PM, Kwinters wrote:


 


"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."


Compassion is defined in the study as an emotion felt when people see the suffering of others which then motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost.


www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/... 




All this demonstrates, (if anything), is that religious people are not typically motivated to generosity by way of appeals to emotion.  I would agree, as a person who might be labeled “religious,” I would argue my motivation toward helping others is more about possessing a Kolbergian postconventional morality.  This, in a nutshell, means one is generous because it is right to be so.  

"Sometimes you gotta step into the ring and throw a few punches for what you believe in."

--Ernest Hemingway--
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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 8:54PM #8
costrel
Posts: 6,226

May 1, 2012 -- 7:45PM, steven_guy wrote:

May 1, 2012 -- 7:11PM, Knowsnothing wrote:

Would an atheist be willing to be compassionate, to say, a repentant murderer?  Could an atheist possibly identify emotionally in such a case?


Someone very close to me was brutally raped and murdered. I do not have any feelings of hate (or any other feelings) towards the man who did it. He is in prison for life for this and several other similar crimes. I think I could forgive the man if he could convince me that he was sorry for Anne's rape and murder. I guess this will never happen because I am never going to visit Mr. Creed.


So are you saying that forgiveness and compassion are the same thing? Compassion, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, means "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others." The English word compassion is derived from an Old French word that it itself derived from the Latin word compati, meaning "suffer with."


A person, therefore, might feel compassion towards a convicted murder out on parole who was homeless and starving on the streets (regardless of whether or not he was repentent) and ensure that he had food and shelter, yet this would be very different than forgiving him for his actions. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 9:03PM #9
steven_guy
Posts: 11,739

May 1, 2012 -- 8:54PM, costrel wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 7:45PM, steven_guy wrote:

May 1, 2012 -- 7:11PM, Knowsnothing wrote:

Would an atheist be willing to be compassionate, to say, a repentant murderer?  Could an atheist possibly identify emotionally in such a case?


Someone very close to me was brutally raped and murdered. I do not have any feelings of hate (or any other feelings) towards the man who did it. He is in prison for life for this and several other similar crimes. I think I could forgive the man if he could convince me that he was sorry for Anne's rape and murder. I guess this will never happen because I am never going to visit Mr. Creed.


So are you saying that forgiveness and compassion are the same thing? Compassion, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, means "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others." The English word compassion is derived from an Old French word that it itself derived from the Latin word compati, meaning "suffer with."


A person, therefore, might feel compassion towards a convicted murder out on parole who was homeless and starving on the streets (regardless of whether or not he was repentent) and ensure that he had food and shelter, yet this would be very different than forgiving him for his actions. 




I'd feel compassion if there was reason to feel it. I guess being locked up in a prison for life isn't a bed of roses. I'd like to think that I could feel compassion for the worst people in the world, if they were sorry for the things they've done. 


Sorry, I shouldn't have brought this up, it is a very painful memory for me.

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 9:14PM #10
Blü
Posts: 24,653

KW


"for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not"


Yet governments where secular principles prevail are better at public welfare programs (poverty, housing, education, health, mental health, job training &c). 


As to the role of belief, more liberal Christians tend to support such projects and more right-wing Christians tend to oppose them.



"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."


If we delegate public welfare to our governments, we pay our taxes knowing they support these purposes.  That will generally be 'less in emotion' too.



My point is that charity can begin at other places than home these days.  We can delegate it without being less generous.  Or we can do both.

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