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Mar 01, 2010, 09:00 AM
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Study Links Religion and Racism


In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus warned religious listeners against what today would be called “ingroup prejudice”: the tendency to think less of outsiders, especially those of another race.

The Samaritan, a member of a group despised by Israelites of that time, proves himself more charitable to an injured traveler than two members of the Jewish clergy.

Devout listeners startled by the Samaritan’s charity would have had to confront a difficult message: Piety and prejudice keep close company.

It appears not much has changed.

A meta-analysis of 55 independent studies carried out in the United States with more than 20,000 mostly Christian participants has found that members of religious congregations tend to harbor prejudiced views of other races.

In general, the more devout the community, the greater the racism, according to the authors of the analysis, led by Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at USC College and the USC Marshall School of Business. The study appears in the February issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review.

“Religious groups distinguish between believers and non-believers and moral people and immoral ones,” Wood said. “So perhaps it’s no surprise that the strongly religious people in our research, who were mostly white Christians, discriminated against others who were different from them — blacks and minorities.”

Most of the studies reviewed by Wood’s team focused on Christians because Christianity is the most common religion in the United States.

Her analysis found significantly less racism among people without strong religious beliefs.

Wood speculated that racist tendencies would not be limited to one religion: “All religions offer a moral group identity, and so across world religions — including Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim, Judaism and Christianity — the religious ingroup is valued over outgroups.”

Wood and her co-authors — Deborah Hall from Duke University and David Matz from Augsburg College — analyzed data from all available studies on religion and racism since 1964, when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. A quarter of the studies in the analysis were conducted after 2000 and just over half after 1990.

Despite the involvement of religious individuals in the civil rights movement, and in later struggles for racial equality, the authors found a strong correlation between religious belief and racism, as measured through commonly used survey tools that rate respondents’ attitudes toward religion and racial minorities.

Studies of highly devout groups showed the greatest correlation between religion and racism.

“The effect is strongest in the seminary,” Wood said. Of the 55 studies, 14 dealt with highly religious populations such as frequent church attendees and seminarians.

The results may ring false to practicing Christians in mixed-race congregations. But those are only a minority, according to Wood.

“There aren’t many churches that practice with a mixed-race congregation,” she said.

Wood emphasized the value of religion.

“Religion has clear benefits for the individual who is practicing that religion,” she said.

However, “religion has a downside, like any group membership, particularly a group membership that is associated with morality.”

She attributed the association between religion and racism to the combination of ingroup identity and morality, which encourages distinctions between people. The appeal of tradition and social convention also played a role.

“People who were religious because of their respect for tradition and social convention were especially likely to be racist,” Wood said, though adding that the strength of the correlation declined somewhat as racism became less socially acceptable.

“The effect stays significant even in recent years. For people who are religious for conservative reasons [respect for tradition, social conventionalism], they have become less racist in recent years as racism has become less socially acceptable. But even they are still significantly racist, just that the effect has reduced in magnitude,” Wood explained.

Wood and her co-authors also found little difference in racist attitudes between religious fundamentalists and more moderate Christians. The second group tended to pay lip service to racial equality but harbored the same prejudices.

“What we found with that group of people was really no different from everyone else,” Wood said.

Wood’s analysis echoes what Martin Luther King Jr. wrote more than 40 years ago in his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” in which he reserved some of his sharpest criticism for religious leaders who, with few exceptions, embraced integration in principle but resisted it in practice.

Do the findings mean that being religious makes one a racist? Not necessarily.

The Samaritan in Jesus’ parable himself was a member of a religious group that held other religions in contempt.

Yet he stopped for an outsider who needed help.

http://www.opednews.com/populum/link...?linkid=107713

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Before you religious types try banning me, thats religion, not God.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:07 AM
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ENGINETORQUE's Avatar
Religion has always been a hotbed of Racism and divisionism - hence all the holy wars and Jihad's - it's not exactly newsworthy!
Mar 01, 2010, 09:17 AM
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Not even remotely surprising. The same people who follow the "only way" are equally as excepting of anything else outside of their other "only way"s.

The funny thing is, I don't see this as a religious issue, I see this as a logic one. If a person has decided that they are right, and everyone else is wrong, regardless of the logic that underpins their position, then they will apply this same logic to other situations; equally, in their minds at least, as valid.

IMHO, Goat is just as religious as any believer posting here.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:24 AM
LcJ
LcJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tolladay
Not even remotely surprising. The same people who follow the "only way" are equally as excepting of anything else outside of their other "only way"s.

The funny thing is, I don't see this as a religious issue, I see this as a logic one. If a person has decided that they are right, and everyone else is wrong, regardless of the logic that underpins their position, then they will apply this same logic to other situations; equally, in their minds at least, as valid.

IMHO, Goat is just as religious as any believer posting here.
Personally, my experience is that people that know the least about what they are in charge of are the least secure and exhibit the behavior described. If we believe in free choice as a gift of God, then we must never force what we believe on others. But the same token we are obliged to let people know what we believe. The choice is always up to the individual. It is not a group think decision. Unfortunately, money is also at the root of a lot of the problems with religion. The more you sell, the more profit you make so to speak. But this is all a problem within the individual. We have the choice to act or not to act, to believe or not to believe, to share or to keep close. What does it profiteth a man to gain the whole world (or whole anything) and lose his soul?
Latest blog entry: RC Logger's Eye One Xtreme Quad
Mar 01, 2010, 09:28 AM
Low, slow and dirty
The bible says: Not to "associate" with people who have "no morals" or who practice "false worship to pagan gods". There's no color or race mentioned nor implied!

Maybe, you should read the bible or re-read it and get your ducks in a row...

Your article is just another "bogus attempt" to twist good and bad around. Basically, making people who believe in God/Jesus the bad guys!


Wanna try again..
Mar 01, 2010, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LcJ
Personally, my experience is that people that know the least about what they are in charge of are the least secure and exhibit the behavior described. If we believe in free choice as a gift of God, then we must never force what we believe on others. But the same token we are obliged to let people know what we believe. The choice is always up to the individual. It is not a group think decision. Unfortunately, money is also at the root of a lot of the problems with religion. The more you sell, the more profit you make so to speak. But this is all a problem within the individual. We have the choice to act or not to act, to believe or not to believe, to share or to keep close. What does it profiteth a man to gain the whole world (or whole anything) and lose his soul?
I am so glad you said that, now if you would please respond in that fashion, to the thread where Palin will pray force us to be dominated by ironfisted holy rollers.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:32 AM
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It is almost like religion is a veil we throw over our inner caveman, to justify our prejudices.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:37 AM
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gman2
It is almost like religion is a veil we throw over our inner caveman, to justify our prejudices.
That's why I don't blame the veil, but the caveman.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:40 AM
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madsci_guy's Avatar
Quote:
“Religious groups distinguish between believers and non-believers and moral people and immoral ones,” Wood said. “So perhaps it’s no surprise that the strongly religious people in our research, who were mostly white Christians, discriminated against others who were different from them — blacks and minorities.”
There ya go. The "study" apparently preferentially studies whites, and comes up with religion being associated with racism. What, couldn't they have any strongly religious Hispanics or Blacks to study? I know they're around, somewhere Obviously , its a deliberate attempt to prove some point, where one must cherry pick the demographic.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:42 AM
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The non-whites that are religious, are usually woopin it up, with buffets, and all manor of fun. They dont get so dogmatic.

Oh, and this was not an isolated study, they called it a metastudy. Meaning that they gleaned theri results from several data streams.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:44 AM
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madsci_guy's Avatar
Quote:
Wood speculated that racist tendencies would not be limited to one religion: “All religions offer a moral group identity, and so across world religions — including Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim, Judaism and Christianity — the religious ingroup is valued over outgroups.”
Speculation is right.
Again, obviously someone with an anti-religious agenda. "We didn't find any confirming data, but we're sure it must be so!
Mar 01, 2010, 09:48 AM
Figure Nine Champ
madsci_guy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gman2
The non-whites that are religious, are usually woopin it up, with buffets, and all manor of fun. They dont get so dogmatic.
You obviously don't know any. In the Dallas area alone, I know of a "mega church", that is predominantly Black and very religious.
Mar 01, 2010, 10:18 AM
Low, slow and dirty
I think the article contradicts itself. Its main point is to say that religious people in general are racists with a few exceptions!


I think it boils down to the "character of an individual" that determines how "another" feels about them!
Mar 01, 2010, 10:26 AM
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And I think the study says that religion reinforces an already reciding ingroup preference.

Here is another study. Sorta the other end of the scale

(CNN) -- Political, religious and sexual behaviors may be reflections of intelligence, a new study finds.

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning -- on the order of 6 to 11 points -- and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people's behaviors come to be.

The reasoning is that sexual exclusivity in men, liberalism and atheism all go against what would be expected given humans' evolutionary past. In other words, none of these traits would have benefited our early human ancestors, but higher intelligence may be associated with them...

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/26/liberals.atheists....
Mar 01, 2010, 10:33 AM
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madsci_guy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gman2
Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.
I read it. IIRC the difference for atheism vs. religion was about six points. I dare you to take various IQ tests, and get scores that fall within a six point range.

I'm surprised, I would think your positions in most of your posts, would lead one to believe that you would probably distrust standardized IQ tests?


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