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Mixing religion and alcohol may be dangerous to other people’s health according to a new study of religion, alcohol and violence.

It says that religious people who were not under the influence were the most likely to turn the other cheek among those studied. But religious people who are intoxicated appear to be most likely to be show aggression among intoxicated persons in the study.


The study by the University of Kentucky’s Aaron A. Duke and Peter R. Giancola, published in the latest issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, adds new insight into the complex relation between religion and aggression. It appears that alcohol can release aggression in religious individuals.

The Press Room at the Association of Religion Data Archives:

Religious beliefs and practices in general are associated with more compassionate behavior toward others. A review of the scientific literature by Duke and Giancola found that a majority of survey studies showed religion was associated with lower levels of aggression. In particular, some studies indicated religious individuals are less likely to commit crimes, and that faith may be associated with lower rates of domestic violence.

But there are also times when religion is linked to more aggressive behavior. For example, biblical admonitions warning parents that if they spare the rod, they will spoil the child appear to be associated with higher rates of corporal punishment among religious conservatives.

In the alcohol study, too much booze appeared to not only negate, but to reverse the positive effects of religion in limiting aggression.

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Bill Moorhead

Sorry. I just couldn't help but think of the study of why small children fall off their tricycles....

I suppose it's useful to know if drunk Christians are more aggressive than drunk agnostics. Does the study distinguish among denominational affiliations? Are drunk Southern Baptists more aggressive than drunk Irish Catholics? Inquiring minds want to know....

I'm sorry. This whole thing just strikes me as silly.

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Bill Moorhead

Did somebody actually fund this study?

(Yes. ": This research was supported by grant R01-AA-11691 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and by the National Center for Research Resources." - Cafe ed.)

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