Carmen Puchulu, Columnist
Most people assume that children who have a religious background have a good morality. After all, the teachings of the major religions to children are mostly about being good and kind to others. A recent study states otherwise.
Professor Jean Decety from the University of Chicago has done a study looking into the differences between cultures concerning empathy. What he found was that children from secular backgrounds tend to have a better morality than those from Christian and Muslim backgrounds.
This is a bit of a big deal, considering there is this whole argument about how kids growing up in secular backgrounds supposedly don’t have a moral compass, which of course isn’t true.
Especially now that there is scientific evidence to support the fact that kids in secular backgrounds have as much morality as those from religious backgrounds; according to the study, they seem to have more.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that kids with religious backgrounds don’t have any morality because of the religion they grew up in. This study only shows a correlation, not causation.
It is an important distinction to remember, because people tend to forget that there is a difference between the two. There are many variables that affect a result when it comes to talking about human behavior.
In an article about this subject, J.V. Charmary wrote that “one factor is a psychological phenomenon known as ‘moral licensing’: a person will justify doing something bad or immoral – like being racist – because they’ve already done something ‘good’, such as praying.”
This is not a conscious act as the article goes on to explain. It is not all that strange when you think about it, since most people grow up to believe that there is good and bad in all people. There are some bad things that people will not stand for while there are other bad things that people can shove under a rug, saying it could be worse. This isn’t a bad way to look at the world; it is just a way of looking at it.
At the end of the day, the major point to take from this study is that secular people do have a moral compass and should not be written off as immoral people based on the fact that they do not practice under the morals of a religion.
Religion does not dictate a person’s morality. Rather, their actions do. It has been said that actions speak louder than words. This is where that saying speaks volumes.