American Samizdat

Wednesday, March 28, 2007. *
Does believing that "God is on our side" make it easier for us to inflict pain and suffering on those perceived to be our enemies? If we think God sanctions violence, are we more likely to engage in violent acts? The answer to both those questions, according to new research, is a resounding "yes," even among those who do not consider themselves believers. Social psychologist Brad Bushman of the University of Michigan led an international research effort to find answers to these questions, and said he is very "disturbed" by the results, though he found what he had expected. [...]

"What worries me is when people use God as a justification for their violence. There are scriptures that say you should not take God's name in vain. This is the most extreme version of taking God's name in vain," he said. Yet his own research shows that whether people consider themselves believers or not, they are more likely to be aggressive, perhaps even willing to start a war, if they think God is on their side.

[Article continues at link. Would war diminish if religion diminished? I'd like to find out. Instead I get George Bush on one side and Osama bin Ladin on the other.]


posted by Trevor Blake at 2:37 PM
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