It’s no secret that, in America today, Christian conservatives completely forget anything that Jesus has ever said. The Tea Party and other Christian extremists regularly demonize the poor, hate immigrants, support harsh punishments like the death penalty, frequently speak of lynching the President, and generally act in a manner that is completely contrary to anything that the Jesus character in the Bible would support. But it’s important to remember that it’s not their fault that they are awful.
A new study published in Current Biology reveals that religion is damaging to children in more ways than previously thought. Not only does it lead to anti-LGBT bigotry, climate denial, and other woes our nation faces, but religion just makes kids mean and un-empathetic when compared to children raised in nonreligious households. Strangely, though religious parents turned their children into little sh*ts through religious brainwashing, they are more likely than nonreligious parents to consider their children empathetic and sensitive. But the study notes that religious parents’ precious little snowflakes aren’t the perfect little angels mommy and daddy assume them to be:
Across all countries, parents in religious households reported that their children expressed more empathy and sensitivity for justice in everyday life than non-religious parents. However, religiousness was inversely predictive of children’s altruism and positively correlated with their punitive tendencies. Together these results reveal the similarity across countries in how religion negatively influences children’s altruism, challenging the view that religiosity facilitates prosocial behavior.
The study found that children in nonreligious households are leaps and bounds more generous to strangers than are Christians or Muslims. Interestingly, the longer children live in religious homes, the study shows the amount of greed they exhibit to increase. “The negative relation between religiousness and spirituality and altruism changes across age, with those children with longer experience of religion in the household exhibiting the greatest negative relations,” the study notes.
Children were asked to play a game that requited them to decide how many stickers to share with other children.
Christians and Muslims shared a similar number of stickers, but Atheist children were the most giving:
While religious children are less generous than nonreligious ones, God’s flock makes up for it with unbridled wrath. Researchers measured how children perceived interpersonal harm and the punishment they felt was appropriate. Religious kids said that the actions of others were meaner and thus more deserving of punishment than did children in nonreligious homes:
Research indicates that religiousness is directly related to increased intolerance for and punitive attitudes toward interpersonal offenses, including the probability of supporting harsh penalties,” researchers say. “For instance, within Christianity, fundamentalists tend to be more punitive and advocate for harsher corrections than non-fundamentalists.
The study notes that Christians are more likely to view moral dilemmas in more of a black and white context and are ” less likely to discriminate between gradients of wrongness, yielding equal ratings for a variety of transgressions.”
Though religious kids take personal offense more easily, seem to be eager to inflict punishment on others, and are greedy, their parents disagree.
To religious parents, especially Christians, their little angels are more sensitive to injustices than others:
This study perfectly explains modern conservatism — from Ben Carson, who wants to enslave immigrants, to Donald Trump, who has promised to “look into” a plan to “get rid” of all of the Muslims in America, to any conservative who has ever attacked the poor, the disadvantaged, and who has suggested any policy that is harmful to women, the LGBT community, or any other group. Religion, when not viewed in proper context, can be absolutely damaging.
Having a belief system is fine — but when yours is literally raising an army of intolerant, greedy monsters, it is probably time to rethink things a bit.
Featured Image via CBC