Children from religious families are less kind, less generous and more punitive than those from non-religious families, a study of 1200 children across the globe shows.
Researchers from seven universities studied Christian, Muslim and non-religious children to test the relationship between religion and altruism.
“Overall, our findings … contradict the popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind towards others,” said the authors of the study — The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World –published in Current Biology.
Not only is religion not necessary for moral development, the researchers found, it seems to hinder it.
Almost 1,200 children, ages 5 to 12, from the US, Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey and South Africa participated in the study. Almost 24% were Christian, 43% Muslim, and 27.6% non-religious. The numbers of Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu children were too small to be statistically significant.
In one of the tests participants were given stickers, told there were not enough for all kids in the group, and then asked if they would share. Both Christian and Islamic children were less generous than the non-religious ones.
The children were also shown a film of children pushing and bumping into each other and asked what they thought about it. The religious children thought the children in the film were deserving of harsher punishment than non-religious children.
Older children with a longer exposure to religion were the least altruistic and most punitive.
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.
Ironically, religious parents were the most likely to report that their children were “more empathetic and more sensitive to the plight of others” than most children.
12 responses to “Religious Kids Meaner and More Punitive than Secular Kids, Study Shows”
I’m thinking they had very liberal parents who made them feel entitled, with no discipline.
Extremely small number of participants for a global study. Not convinced your data is sufficient to back your findings. Do it again please, and do it right.
I’m not at all surprised.
With the majority being Muslim,no wonder you got the results you did!!
that’s just racist and unnecessary
I have often found that to be true. They pattern their parents. However, I did study with the Jehovah witnesses for a while and found that most of their children were impressively mature and kind, with a few exceptions.
Your a liar, you just hate Christians. There is no way you can compare or do a study with muslims and christians. Your study does nothing and wont stop God feom coming.
Sara Burrows I am praying for you.
Way to prove the study right but being extremely condesending. You are the reason this study was even done up. Extremely judgemental in thinking your God is the only right God.
Interesting study. As far as studies go….1200 kids across the globe is not enough kids to make any definitive statements. I would imagine their culture, family, the strictness of their practice, etc.
“The children were also shown a film of children pushing and bumping into each other and asked what they thought about it. The religious children thought the children in the film were deserving of harsher punishment than non-religious children.”
Fig.3 Children from religious households judge interpersonal harm more severely…
So, if I’m reading this correctly, according to this ‘study,’ kids who think that offenders who harm other kids should be punished, are then deemed to be “mean” because they think kids shouldn’t harm one another.
So, it’s not wrong to be wrong, just to say it’s wrong.
I would like you to cite the source of this study and any corresponding studies.
To me the study seems correct based on my personal experience but without any citations or any backup evidence there is no way to prove it based on this particular study