Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fear and

(Cross Posted at Vim and Vinegar)

It's a hypothesis I've not heard said out loud, but I can't say that I'm surprised someone considered it - the meta-analysis of several studies have recently been completed testing the hypothesis that racism is linked to religion (Christianity). The results: "Religious congregations generally express more prejudiced views towards other races. Furthermore, the more devout the community, the greater the racism."

The study was published in the February issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review, with the conclusion: "Only religious agnostics were racially tolerant." Again, I can't say that I'm absolutely surprised by this outcome - I've noticed that agnostics seems to be more willing to accept that others' ideas or habits may be acceptable, or that while what they believe might be right for them, there are no shoes that fit all feet.

Put another way by the Center for Inquiry article linked at the beginning of this post: "Religious agnostics would be people who combine a religious/spiritual attitude in living life with a humble admission that they don't know if their approach is the only right way. Religious agnostics are pluralistic -- they have no problem admiring how different people can enjoy different religious paths. And it is precisely this lack of dogmatism which permits humanistic values to shine through. Religious exclusivism defeats humanistic universalism, but religious pluralism enhances humanistic universalism."

Perhaps tolerance comes from accepting that we can't know the unknowable and accepting that someone else's ideas may be as accurate or inaccurate as our own.

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