Religion and generosity

According to a new study, religious faith does make people more generous--but only in certain circumstances. Here is the Science Daily report:

Belief in God encourages people to be helpful, honest and generous, but only under certain psychological conditions, according to University of British Columbia researchers who analyzed the past three decades of social science research.

Religious people are more likely than the non-religious to engage in prosocial behaviour – acts that benefit others at a personal cost – when it enhances the individual's reputation or when religious thoughts are freshly activated in the person's mind, say UBC social psychologists Ara Norenzayan and Azim Shariff

Their paper "The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality" appears in the October 3, 2008 issue of the journal Science.

Read it all here.

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