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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Forgive Us Our Trespasses: Priming a Forgiving (But Not a Punishing) God Increases Unethical Behavior

Amber E DeBono, Azim Shariff, Sarah Poole, and Mark Muraven
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality · December 2016

Abstract

Religious people differ in how punishing or forgiving they see their Gods. Such different beliefs may have distinct consequences in encouraging people to act in normative ways. Though a number of priming studies have shown a positive causal relationship between religion and normative behavior, few have primed different aspects of religion, and none has examined the punishing/forgiving dimension. In three experiments, Christians instructed to read and write about a forgiving God stole more money (Experiments 1 and 2) and cheated more on a math assignment (Experiment 3) than those who read and wrote about a punishing God, a forgiving human, a punishing human, or those in a control condition. These studies present a more complex and nuanced picture of the important relationship between religion and normative behavior.

The article is here.
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