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Tolerating the "doubting Thomas": how centrality of religious beliefs vs. practices influences prejudice against atheists.

Hughes J, Grossmann I, Cohen AB - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples.Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented).This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo Waterloo, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples. We propose that religious centrality of beliefs vs. practices influences attitudes toward atheists, such that religious groups emphasizing beliefs perceive non-believers more negatively than believers, while groups emphasizing practices perceive non-practicing individuals more negatively than practicing individuals. Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented). Study 3 experimentally manipulated a target individual's beliefs and practices. Protestants had more negative attitudes toward a non-believer (vs. a believer), whereas Jews had more negative attitudes toward a non-practicing individual (vs. a practicing individual, particularly when they had a Jewish background). This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

No MeSH data available.


Differences in slopes for beliefs predicting religiosity and practices predicting religiosity, by religious group. Asterisks indicate that the difference in slopes is greater than zero. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.
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Figure 2: Differences in slopes for beliefs predicting religiosity and practices predicting religiosity, by religious group. Asterisks indicate that the difference in slopes is greater than zero. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.

Mentions: We found a significant three-way interaction between religion, item (dummy code indicating beliefs or practices), and value (within-person, continuous measure of beliefs/practices), F(3, 28128) = 6.20, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.283 (Lefcheck, 2013; Nakagawa and Schielzeth, 2013). Within each religion, the two-way interactions showed that Protestants placed more emphasis on beliefs than on practices, β = 0.14, t(28128) = 12.68, p < 0.001; as did Muslims, β = 0.24, t(28128) = 5.01, p < 0.001. In contrast, Jews placed equal emphasis on beliefs and practices, β = −0.04, t(28128) = −0.78, p = 0.43; as did Hindus, β = 0.04, t(28128) = 0.34, p = 0.73 (see Figure 2 and Table 4).


Tolerating the "doubting Thomas": how centrality of religious beliefs vs. practices influences prejudice against atheists.

Hughes J, Grossmann I, Cohen AB - Front Psychol (2015)

Differences in slopes for beliefs predicting religiosity and practices predicting religiosity, by religious group. Asterisks indicate that the difference in slopes is greater than zero. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4561750&req=5

Figure 2: Differences in slopes for beliefs predicting religiosity and practices predicting religiosity, by religious group. Asterisks indicate that the difference in slopes is greater than zero. Different subscripts indicate that these bars differ from each other at the p < 0.05 level.
Mentions: We found a significant three-way interaction between religion, item (dummy code indicating beliefs or practices), and value (within-person, continuous measure of beliefs/practices), F(3, 28128) = 6.20, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.283 (Lefcheck, 2013; Nakagawa and Schielzeth, 2013). Within each religion, the two-way interactions showed that Protestants placed more emphasis on beliefs than on practices, β = 0.14, t(28128) = 12.68, p < 0.001; as did Muslims, β = 0.24, t(28128) = 5.01, p < 0.001. In contrast, Jews placed equal emphasis on beliefs and practices, β = −0.04, t(28128) = −0.78, p = 0.43; as did Hindus, β = 0.04, t(28128) = 0.34, p = 0.73 (see Figure 2 and Table 4).

Bottom Line: Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples.Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented).This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo Waterloo, ON, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Past research has found a robust effect of prejudice against atheists in largely Christian-dominated (belief-oriented) samples. We propose that religious centrality of beliefs vs. practices influences attitudes toward atheists, such that religious groups emphasizing beliefs perceive non-believers more negatively than believers, while groups emphasizing practices perceive non-practicing individuals more negatively than practicing individuals. Studies 1-2, in surveys of 41 countries, found that Muslims and Protestants (belief-oriented) had more negative attitudes toward atheists than did Jews and Hindus (practice-oriented). Study 3 experimentally manipulated a target individual's beliefs and practices. Protestants had more negative attitudes toward a non-believer (vs. a believer), whereas Jews had more negative attitudes toward a non-practicing individual (vs. a practicing individual, particularly when they had a Jewish background). This research has implications for the psychology of religion, anti-atheist prejudice, and cross-cultural attitudes regarding where dissent in beliefs or practices may be tolerated or censured within religious groups.

No MeSH data available.