Are religious people less compasionate than others?

@Pose123 (21667)
Canada
May 5, 2012 9:57pm CST
You would expect religious people to be more compassionate than others,or at least that how most people seem to feel. According to some social scientists however, the opposite would appear to be true. In three experiments, they 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 most recent online issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Are you surprised by such findings?
6 people like this
10 responses
• United States
7 May 12
I think that they are less compassionate than other people because often times they will chose religious doctrine or beliefs even though those beliefs could be completely wrong. I have known people who chose religious beliefs over what they knew to actually be right even though they knew that what they were saying and doing was wrong. One of my male friends, that I had known since the 4th grade was Gay, and we all knew this, and none of us judged him after a long time because we knew who he was, and we knew it's who he is, but his cousin, who happened to be my friend as well, so this got a little dicey, that I had known since the first grade said that the Bible condemns homosexuality and she would not love her cousin if he ever admitted it or came near her. She and I got into an argument, and several other friends joined in where we ended up defending my male friend who was Gay, and not his cousin. I told her that he was her cousin, her familia, blood, and that she knew that what she was saying and doing was wrong. He was her family, and if he anything she needed to be supportive of him. She got angry at us, but we were just as angry at her for not being supportive of her cousin.
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi rogue, Thank you for coming here and your response gives one of the best examples. The churches are responsible for most of the hatred that is shown toward gays and few religious people show them any compassion at all. There are a few Christian churches that accept homosexuality and we can give thanks for such enlightened minds, but the majority of churches and their followers know little of compassion towards anyone who are different. I commend you and your friends for being so understanding and his cousin and her family have a lot to learn about being a Christian. Study the gospels which is an account of the life of Jesus, whom Christians claim to follow and you will find no account anywhere where he condemns a person for being gay. Paul, whose teachings many Christians prefer to follow may well have been gay himself, as not only did he not marry, but encouraged other men not to marry as well. Blessings.
@mythociate (15963)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
25 Aug 12
Did you ever eat glue when you were a kid? And if your teacher or parent ever caught you eating glue and told you not to eat glue, were they being hateful in telling you not to eat glue? Of course not! They had compassion for you, did not want you to suffer the damage that glue-eating can cause, and so told you not to. I suppose that--if you became a glue-etarian and built your life around it--you wouldn't feel "included" in any of the potlucks or buffets where 'glue' was not on the menu (left out out of compassion for ALL the people). What this generation's 'flower-children' (I guess we could call them 'rainbow children') call "homophobia" is actually compassion for our children and others in their generation. We don't want to show them any other way but our own unless we show them that the other ways are WRONG, PAINFUL & TORMENTED. That's one of the reasons we send criminals to prison---to watch them suffer ... not in a sick, '`coz we enjoy it' way; but in a way that we can say 'good thing we're not one o` them!'
@bing28 (3798)
• Philippines
7 May 12
I believe so religious people must be compassionate than others, though maybe it depends upon the teachings and beliefs of the religion they're into. When you say religious it's understood the person is near to God, so it follows that person is more compassionate compared to others. Happy to see you Pose, guess you're in good health now. Blessings...
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi bing, Thank you for commending and my health s much better, thank you. I agree that religious people should be compassionate, that is if they are true followers of their master. Blessings.
@bing28 (3798)
• Philippines
15 May 12
Glad to hear Pose you're in much better health. Take care, friend. Right Pose they have to be true followers. Thanks for posting...
@angemac23 (2005)
• Canada
21 May 12
This does not surprise me one bit. Most of the religious people I know are prejudice (dislike anyone who is not christian, dislike gays, dislike people of other races, etc), cheat on their spouses, neglect their children, are greedy and do not contribute to the good of humanity in any way. Sitting on your knees in church and praying to a man in the sky does not contribute anything to humanity and does not make you a good person......only actions and compassion towards other people and the earth make one a good person and you do not need to be a churchgoer to do these things....I do not (and will never) step inside a church but I know I am a good person and I do good everyday....
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
22 May 12
Hi angemac, Thank you for responding and yes, it is action that matters. Blessings.
• United States
8 May 12
Hiya there:) Soo..i have talked about this with friends and family before,and i have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what religion people are in..they are human and no religion can really stop them from being who they are inside.religion tells you how your supposed to be..and what God/Gods whatever anyone wants to believe wants you to be..but without a doubt we have free will..and that gives even the pope, the right to be a jerk to anyone at any time..just because its free will in how we chose to react to others..i really wish people that go to church or worship would be compassionate.,.its just not in the cards in reality..though I must say,its does help alot more people than none that have a religion and it does help dont get me wrong..but there is just no way,us being human..that it perfects us.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi cloud, Thank you for commenting and you make a very good point. Blessings.
• Mexico
7 May 12
Hi Pose: Yes, I feel shocked after these news even if it's not completely weird as I have seen this in some people that are supposed to be religious and are more judgemental than the rest of the people and show little compassion for the people around them. I think they are just religious just in name. I mean, they are so focused on their beliefs that they forget that it's not only about what you pray but how you treat the others and how you love your brothers what religion is about. ALVARO
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi starsailover, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have been reminded of the parable of The Good Samaritan and maybe we should not have been so surprised. I much prefer to be considered spiritual than religious as the word now conjures up some very disturbing pictures. There are good teachings in all religions but many who claim to be followers seem to ignore such teachings and follow their own way. Blessings.
• Philippines
7 May 12
Hi to all. I was surprised by the result of the survey. I believed that it is often the religious people who are compassionate. For me, being religious means belonging to certain religions like Catholicism. As such, members often go to churches and listen to Gospel teachings which is about loving others. In my opinion, if people always hear such, they would tend to become more compassionate. On the other hand, I also believe that non-religious people can also be compassionate. Maybe they were brought up to be like that. Or maybe they live among family and community of compassionate people that is why they were inflienced by the chatacter of people around them..
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi christineli, Thank you for commenting and I immediately noticed that you mentioned Gospel teachings, and I think that is the answer. Non religious people are often compassionate as well because they are taught it by their parents. One does not have to be religious to be a good person. Getting back to your first comment, the Gospels are where we find the teachings of Christ himself and of course these are the best teachings. Many Christian churches pay little attention to the gospels. You make a very good point. Blessings.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
6 May 12
It doesn't surprise me at all..in fact I know a Pastor right now that to me is crabby all the time..and sometimes she acts like she is better then others??? What's up with that? Jesus taught us to be humble.....and compassionate! I am wondering where it is taught that they are better then others?
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi jillhill, Thank you for sharing and you make a good point. Such people are not followers of Jesus Christ. If Christians were following the teachings of Christ, the churches would be full to overflowing instead of closing their doors as many are today. If they were not allowed to indoctrinate children, the churches would have been empty long ago. The next big fight may be for the right of everyone to decide for themselves as adults. Few things bother me more than parents taking their children with them as they knock on doors to preach their gospel, and having the children quote scripture after scripture while the smiling parent looks on. Blessings.
• India
6 May 12
Nothing surprising in this result!! These days, religious people are those who become the cause for most of the deaths... they kill people in the name of religion... Religion is just a belief. Just because one doesn't believe in something, it doesn't mean he isn't compassionate. Compassion is due to one's character and not belief! Now-a-days the proportion of people who believe in a religion for its principles is becoming less. More people have become mad on their religion rather than being passionate and respectful. That's the reason they have become so cruel and heartless these days!!
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
6 May 12
I would be surprised, but it depends on what religion you are talking about. I would say that Christians are more compassionate, but Muslims would be less because the lesser would only be compassionate towards those of their own beliefs especially the ones that read the latter Koran because it talks about conquest and destroying the infidel. Compassion and genorosity should go together, but often do not. It depends on what finances the person has to give. And is the so called compassion real? And what is the goal? For instance, if it is to make a person feel good - like I suppose in the secular world, i.e. "Look how wonderful I am in that I gave thousands of dollars to charity," it is worse then a poor Christian giving a few pennies into the collection plat.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi suspenseful, Thank you for commenting and I too was surprised but maybe I should not have been, remembering Jesus's parable of the Good Samaritan. It was the religious people there who showed no compassion. I cannot say if Christians are more compassionate than Muslims or followers of other religions. I know that Jesus was compassionate, but how many Christians really follow the teachings of Christ? Some of the most compassionate people I know are Christian in name only and rarely if ever attend any church. Money has nothing to do with it really, if it did only the rich could be compassionate and that is something we see only in people like Oprah Winfrey and a few others like her. As a rule the rich are not compassionate whether they claim to be religious or not. Blessings.
• United States
6 May 12
Well I wouldn't think much of it if they only did 3 experiments. If they did 300, or 3000 experiments with similar results, it would intrigue me. Not enough evidence statistically to matter either way when they only tried it 3 times in my opinion.
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
14 May 12
Hi rewardsinfulife, Thank you for commenting. Actually it would depend on the number of people surveyed in each experiment but I think that three would be sufficient as it's likely that there would have been several hundred involved in each. I can't imagine anyone doing three hundred experiments. Blessings.