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Reading: Non-Theists Are No Less Moral Than Theists: Some Preliminary Results

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Research Article

Non-Theists Are No Less Moral Than Theists: Some Preliminary Results

Authors:

Justin Didyoung,

Penn State University, Altoona, US
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Eric Charles,

Penn State University, AltoonaNone
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Nicholas James Rowland

Penn State University, US
About Nicholas
Assistant Professor of Sociology at Pensylvania State University in Altoona, PA.
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Abstract

The longstanding stereotype that non-theists are less moral than theists is not empirically supported. To test this commonplace assumption, 114 undergraduate participants were evaluated to draw comparisons about religious identity and altruism levels. Participants were placed into one of two groups, theists or non-theists. The theist group was then further divided: weakly religious, moderately religious, and highly religious. Non-theists and theists as a whole, as well as theist subgroup assessments, were compared. Data were collected through self-report surveys. Additionally, to test moral decision-making abilities, participants answered questions based on situational dilemmas. Using Kohlberg’s coding schema, scores were assigned for the participant’s global moral reasoning rather than for the content of their answers. Using independent groups t-test, ANOVA, and post-hoc tests,our findings suggest no support for the existence of the stereotype that non-theists are less moral than theists. Religious identity did not conclusively determine whether or not an individual was more moral or more altruistic.
How to Cite: Didyoung, J., Charles, E. & Rowland, N.J., (2013). Non-Theists Are No Less Moral Than Theists: Some Preliminary Results. Secularism and Nonreligion. 2, pp.1–20. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/snr.ai
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Published on 02 Mar 2013.
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