Religious children more punitive, less likely to display altruism

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It’s almost like they have some sort of complex. I wonder what you would call a complex like that?


“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”

The original quite is Aristotle, but it is also attributed to Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and various other religious dudes. Apparently, this is all part of the Great Plan. God’s way is mysterious sometimes, innit?


It would be interesting to compare this with the altruism inside the religious group. In my own experience, churches do often show a lot of care for those they identify with or those they want to “reach out to” - much more than I’ve experienced from the general public. This often leads to a much stronger identification with that particular group and a lack of identification with others outside of it. In fact, for some groups that’s part of the point. It makes it more difficult to leave, as some people have very few connections with outsiders. There’s a lot that you’re given by the group, and a lot you can lose if you start withdrawing. This isn’t true with every group by any means (I still go to a church for my family’s sake with great people who know I’m not interested in the teaching at all), but in the past I’ve been completely blanked by someone I considered to be a good friend because I stopped going to the Saturday youth group (I was falling behind at school and couldn’t afford to spend all of Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening in church on top of the whole day on Sunday). I know other people who have withdrawn from associating with others because their religious group has discouraged it. Generally you find out later that there’s some kind of financial or sexual weirdness going on in addition to the psychological manipulation.

My group wasn’t as extreme as the anecdote of the one guy in my youth group would suggest, but there have been many times when I’ve realised that my altruism wasn’t that altruistic. I don’t think any of the really toxic cult stuff was happening (and as the son of the pastor, I know he was working an extra job in order to be able to support us without being a financial burden on the church), but as a small and close-knit religious group, I do recognise some of those traits toward outsiders.


Correlation is not causation. I’m betting that there is some sort of pre-selection going on at the family level. Somewhere in the stuff that makes one family choose to be church goers and another family decide a different path. The kids experience so much more than just religious services- whether their parents are altruistic or not probably has the biggest influence, and their parents got that from the grandparents, and so on. Maybe, over time, altruistic people have noticed they don’t need guidance for that and have left the church in a sort of darwinian social-evolutionary process. As the average level of altruism fell, the remaining jackasses were left in small groups to have and raise little jackasses. Eventually you have jackass platypuses.


Oh I think there’s a fair amount of causation. Most religions contain a healthy dose of self-congratulation and reinforcing social norms. This is usually not what their founders wanted, but when did that ever stop people?


Here’s an interesting article from The Friendly Athiest, which cites a study showing that the overall difference in charitable giving between secular and religious people is almost completely accounted for in the religious giving directly to their places of worship.

It seems to me unfair to include tithe as charitable giving, since most churches use the money they receive for either operating costs, or to expand their ministry. I’m pretty sure telling people stuff based on the bible isn’t really charity.

And as far as I’m concerned, exchanging food and shelter in return for allowing an organization to attempt to indoctrinate you isn’t charity at all. It’s a brainwashing auction.

Altruism is helping someone without direct quid-pro-quo. You help someone out, and maybe they’ll return the favor, but whether or not they will, you do it because you know it’s the right thing.

In the case of religious “charity” there is direct quid-pro-quo. “You must listen to our message, no matter how bad we say you are in it, in exchange for some nice stuff.”


To say nothing of honor-killing an Islamic daughter who wishes to marry outside their religion.


Or, heck, the bible says plain and clear that if your bride doesn’t bleed when you penetrate her for the first time, you need to stone her on the doorstep of her father’s house. Because apparently broken hymens are grounds for FUCKING MURDER.

Jesus Christ, save us from this stupidity.

Oh wait. Jesus explicitly said the old Hebrew law isn’t going to change! Even if you believe every word he said as the “gospel truth” you still aren’t free from having to do all the fucking barbaric shit the old testament says is necessary.

Atheism + secular humanism (with a focus on preference utilitarianism) is much better. You don’t have to kill anyone unless they ask for it in a circumstance of informed consent and utter hopelessness. Like death with dignity situations. And even in such circumstances, you might even be able to reason your way out of killing them. Not so with divine command morality.


Behavior consistent with a slave morality.


That’s what I’ve believed for some time about charity from conservatives. They get to declare giving to their own political organization as charity. Not too different from getting a deduction for paying yourself a salary.


Well, as long as we’re reinforcing tedious stereotypes, we might as well do it correctly? The singular noun is “goy”, the plural noun is “goyim”, and the adjective is “goyishe”. So the correct demeaning stereotypical phrase is, “You’re not going to marry that… GOYISHE girl…”


I just consider churches to be clubs. Not in a bad way, but if you enjoy it and want to spend your money on making the clubhouse look extra cool, that doesn’t make you particularly generous. If you spend your money and time getting others to join your club, that’s also your business - but it’s still not altruistic. Plenty of churches do a lot more than that, but we should drop the idea that religious activity in itself is a good thing.


Ah the wonderful logic that confuses Christianity & Islam with all religions.

If you are going to slur, at least bother to do it right. The plural of goy is goyim. As for your later comment regarding capital crimes, you seemed to be quick to evangelize instead of doing your homework there as well. The TL;DR of the matte from the Talmud(1) is that there are extensive legal barriers to bring a capital case to a court and once accepted in court the requirements for conviction are set so high that if a court sentenced someone to death even once in 70 years that was considered too much and those judges became known as a “killing court”

  1. Just so you have the information, the Talmud is effectively the owner/operators manual for matters of Jewish law. I’m not asking or expecting you to respect this, just offering some knowledge.

*Goyishe" could even be used to describe a secular/ignorant Jewish girl Most people who use Yiddish phrases in English would be more likely to use the pleural form rather than the adjective when referring to a non Jew.


I focus on not raising little turds.


One thing, this is very broad. It doesn’t really give much indication about denominational differences. Are Catholics non-altrustic as those who go to a conservative evangelical church? Same question with Sufis and mainline Sunnis? What about historically black churches or the Quakers? “Christian” and “Muslim” are extremely broad categories. And who was involved in these studies? what were their class status, for example. Were rich Muslims and Christians more selfish, or less? Also, it ignores other faiths - Judaism, Buddhism, or Hinduism (which the Guardian article says is “statistically small”. What about Neo-Pagans? I’d also argue that the places they did the study tend towards more Westernized values, even in Turkey and Jordan. So, I dunno. This seems like an interesting, but incomplete picture of this sort of behavior.

[ETA] Although I tend to be in agreement about not needing religion to be moral and religious people can be amoral, but I sort of figured that fell into the “duh” category. Morality is up to the individual, even as it’s informed by the structures we are in.


The “abused” later seek out others to “abuse”. Who’d a thought?


“Organized” religion is a man-made institution. Institutions change over time.


Yes, finally we have a conclusive study! Religion is worse than atheism, and some religions are worse than others. It’s settled, at last. Now when’s the tax-exemption status going away? When can I start openly judging people on their faith?


Is Goy a religion? Isn’t the distinction more tribal than religious? Isn’t that the problem?
Whatever reformulations religious people create to try and escape their tribal origins they seem always to fail and simply recreate a new tribal mentality.