Book of Mormonisms

Did they really say THAT?

Does Religion Make You Nice?

Posted by coventryrm on Monday, November 10, 2008

Does Religion Make You Nice?

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8 Responses to “Does Religion Make You Nice?”

  1. Should religion make you nice?

  2. gfish said

    There’s a bit of a problem with the scope of this article and what it uses for comparison. European countries where atheism is much more pronounced have lower crime rates and universal healthcare because of government laws cracking down on guns, criminals and not waging an expensive and pointless drug war as well as mandates to spend it tax money on citizen health. These rules were adopted long about by a mix of religious people and atheists.

    The article also doesn’t talk about people who use religion to fuel hate and inspire violent actions against others. If you’re asking whether religion makes you nice, I think you should think about the opposite cases as well.

    Ultimately, the experiment with keywords and money is kind of meaningless. It needs multiple trials to see if there’s any real correlation between keywords and the subjects’ behaviors. The adage of once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern, applies to psychology experiments.

    Atheists do have codes of conduct from which they derive morality and those codes are derived from what mom told them and observing nice behaviors vs. nasty ones. It’s basic social modeling and it uses the same mechanism as organized religion. Minus the God waiting for you to screw up so he can mark you for Hell…

  3. coventryrm said

    “Should religion make you nice?”

    Religious people argue all the time that without religion we would be immoral, unkind etc… so yes I think the impact of Religion should be measured against its marketing claims don’t you?

  4. Immoral is one thing, not nice is another. Since Religious moralities differ in several fundamental ways from the mainstream secular moralities it is inevitable that according to religious mores the very fact of denying the moral import of religious morals will make the non-religious generally more “immoral” in that sense.
    Niceness on the other hand is basically a social not a religious value.

  5. coventryrm said

    “Niceness on the other hand is basically a social not a religious value.”

    I would agree however religious people especially Christians try to take ownership of such teachings as “Love thy neighbor” The parable of the good Samaritan etc? Aren’t those acts of kindness?

  6. Well I don’t know. I would agree with G.K.Chesterton when he says things like charity and compassion were not what made Christianity special.

    However it is true I have been guilted into being nicer to my family since becoming religious (although I am sure my annoying talking about religion all the time has more than made up for it haha!)

    But one thing that annoys me is when religion tries to just be some kind of doctrine of fluffy niceness. Religion is not about being nice, and when religion is about being nice it’s being nice as an act of submission and love to God, not some kind of wishy washy liberal feelgood fest 😄

  7. coventryrm said

    Interesting point, My life experience has been just the opposite, once I wasn’t worried about what the eyes in the sky might think, once guilt and fear or a belief that there was some reward in the here after were no longer my motivators I truly learned how to love myself which in turn allows us in my opinion to truly love appreciate and accept others. I can’t think of anything more wishy washy than the love bombimg so many have experienced as a result of LDS missionary efforts and HT and VT programs.

  8. Well I always loved my family. I just felt that my territorial rights over things in our house were things which it would almost be immoral for me to renounce! Defending my honour and my right made it hard for me to just give in when perhaps it was the better thing to do.
    The Christian world view on the other hand does not particularly value those things and suggests I relinquish and just allow people to sit in my chair or eat my food or change the channel when I want to watch Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe.
    I find (being English) “lovebombing” type behavior (indeed any expressive emotionality – something Americans seem far too favourable toward) horrific. The niceness Christianity has induced me toward is more one of submission and relinquishment than one of gushing sentimentality.

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