Did you know? Odd scientific facts about religion

September 26th, 2013

Church in test tube

I am a great fan of the Science on religion blog and website. I have gained much insight and information, and not a few blog topics, from these sites.

I’ve bookmarked dozens of topics, some of them a little obscure, and I think it is time to introduce you to some oddities.

Scientists studying religion earnestly

There are many scientists – biologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, etc – who study religion and how it works out in individuals and societies, without making any assumptions about whether God exists or not. Here are some of their findings:

Social responsibility
Criminality and religion
Religious, spiritual and atheist personalities
The dark side of religion?
  • Religious belief, across a wide range of religions, is correlated with more sexist attitudes, so that strong believers are more likely to have gender inequitable beliefs. Non-believers fared only marginally better, with stronger unbelief also correlated with more sexist attitudes.
  • Religion tends to build social capital (“the community bonds that underlie civic life”), which is normally a good thing. But it appears strong social capital helped the early spread of Nazism in Germany via strong grass roots friendships.

Buyer beware!

All of these are properly conducted scientific studies (as far as I can tell). But they often can only apply to the particular subgroup being studied, and it is always possible to find studies that give a different result.

But wait, there’s more!

This is only a small selection of loosely grouped studies. I’ll try to outline a few more over the coming months. I hope you found something of interest, or amusing.

Picture: Flickr Creative Commons and Clipart Heaven.

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