grapejelly        How could a set of rules, ostensibly designed to threaten people with eternal and damnation ever cause them to be less empathic and more judgemental toward others?  I just don’t see that happening – commonsense tells me that people with religious dogma pounded into their skulls, if anything, should be more caring and compassionate toward the damned others.

   “Academics from seven universities across the world studied Christian, Muslim and non-religious children to test the relationship between religion and morality.

They found that religious belief is a negative influence on children’s altruism.

“Overall, our findings … contradict the commonsense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind towards others,” said the authors of The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World, published this week in Current Biology.

“More generally, they call into question whether religion is vital for moral development, supporting the idea that secularisation of moral discourse will not reduce human kindness – in fact, it will do just the opposite.

Well knock me over with a full pallet of pickled asparagus.  Atheists like myself have committed untold legions of electrons into thoughtful rhetoric decrying the trauma ‘religious moral teachings’ inflicts on children and adults.  And now this:

“The findings “robustly demonstrate that children from households identifying as either of the two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) were less altruistic than children from non-religious households”.

Older children, usually those with a longer exposure to religion, “exhibit[ed] the greatest negative relations”.

The study also found that “religiosity affects children’s punitive tendencies”. Children from religious households “frequently appear to be more judgmental of others’ actions”, it said.”

Let this study be the sweet grape jelly of victory I smear over my body while running through the streets extolling the masses to witness the glory and the power of atheist prognostications that are (becoming more) empirically sound.

*thinks while raiding the larder for said righteous grape-jelly…*

On sombre reflection, perhaps I should temper my glorious revellings; take a more grandisonant, more contemplative, stance.  *ahem*…  I am most pleasantly pleased that scurrilous religious evocations on morality and moral behaviour are, in-fact, antithetical to moral behaviour and actions.

Or:   You pious motherfuckers have just had your shit rolled up – what now Jebus and friends, what now?!?!?!?

“The report was “a welcome antidote to the presumption that religion is a prerequisite of morality”, said Keith Porteus Wood of the UK National Secular Society.

“It would be interesting to see further research in this area, but we hope this goes some way to undoing the idea that religious ethics are innately superior to the secular outlook. We suspect that people of all faiths and none share similar ethical principles in their day to day lives, albeit may express them differently depending on their worldview.”

Amen to that Keith.

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