WHEN A GOOD GOD MAKES BAD PEOPLE: TESTING A THEORY OF RELIGION AND IMMORALITY Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
Creator
  • Jackson, Joshua
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Abstract
  • When might religious belief lower ethical standards? We propose a theory of religion and immorality that makes three central predictions. First, people will judge immoral acts as more permissible when they make divine attributions for these acts, seeing them as enabled by an intervening God. Second, people will be more likely to make divine attributions when evaluating passive immorality (e.g. keeping a lost wallet) than active immorality (e.g. pick-pocketing) since human action makes people less likely to infer God’s agency. Third, believers will be more likely than non-believers to perpetrate passive immorality, because they feel justified taking advantage of God’s beneficence. Thirteen studies and an internal meta-analysis support these predictions.
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Advisor
  • Gray, Kurt
  • Payne, B. Keith
  • Sheeran, Paschal
Degree
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018
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