Surprise, surprise… The Bible thumpers aren’t winning this race.
A new study by the University of California, Berkeley, suggests atheists and agnostics are more willing to help other people than those who identify themselves as religious.
The reason for this difference, the study found, is because atheists are driven by emotions, such as compassion, as opposed to religious people, who may be more influenced by “doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.”
“This research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,” study co-author and social psychologist Robb Willer said in a statement.
As part of the study, featured in the July issue of the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, researchers examined three experiments tying generosity with compassionate behavior.
That included analyzing data from a 2004 national survey of more than 1,300 Americans. That report found that those who were less religious were motivated more to help others, such as giving food or money to the homeless.
The Berkeley study’s lead author, Laura Saslow, said she was inspired to look into how generous people can be based on religion after hearing how a nonreligious friend wanted to donate to earthquake relief in Haiti, where a woman was being pulled from the rubble.
“I was interested to find that this experience — an atheist being strongly influenced by his emotions to show generosity to strangers — was replicated in three large, systematic studies,” Saslow said in a statement.
Maybe the Christians just didn’t have that much leftover to give after they finished tithing and helping the pastor pay off his Cadillac???