Recent Study Shows Atheists Are More Compassionate Than the Highly Religious

(In response to this news)

About M J Shepherd

Matthew graduated Louisiana State University in 2009 with a BA in studio art and a minor in art history. He has been drawing cartoons and comics online for several years.

  • ben

    Your comic doesn’t suggest this, but the articles linked to do: it’s not anything about anyone’s absolute levels of compassion or generosity, they don’t compare those.  It’s just showing that the two are correlated for atheists, and that they aren’t correlated for theists.

    So actually, I’d say the yoke in on our faces… atheists pride themselves
    on logic, but here it’s basically saying an argument from pathos is more
    likely to work on an atheist than on a religious person. 

    • Pseudonym

      One more thing: The paper isn’t published yet, so we don’t know how it defined “highly religious”. It may be that their definition is highly correlated with a geographic area, such as the US “bible belt”, which is also highly correlated with a certain brand of politics, suggesting yet another plausible causation for the correlation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

       I don’t think compassion is yoke on our faces. I think if we can say atheists are motivated by reason and compassion that’s a compliment.

    • Heather

      I have to disagree, Ben. You can “logically” see when a person is in need, for example, the suffering in Haiti. You can also “feel” compassion due to seeing their particular need. And you can “reason” that sending them donations will help ease their burden.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

       Yolk, as in egg yolk.  A yoke is the thing you use to carry two buckets of water or join a team of horses or oxen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

    The headline doesn’t tell the full story. There is evidence, some from this study, that religionists tend to limit their compassion to people in their in-group. This is actually true of most groups. However, there is still evidence in favour of the general proposition, and some speculation (though no hard evidence, AFAIK) that the typical Christian belief that simply being religious is evidence of compassion diminishes their expression of compassion.

  • Heather
  • Atoswald

    This is the article I read yesterday:

    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-04-highly-religious-people-compassion-non-believers.html

    The study suggests that we are more motivated to act upon our compassion, and compassion is the root of generosity for the non-religious. It also says that the religious are more likely to be generous based on their doctrines, communal identity or reputation. So, although religious people may be more generous than atheists, they hold more selfish motives … (imo) we have the moral high ground.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Boyce/100002441735091 Bill Boyce

    The actual study shows that atheists have to be “compassionate”, i.e., emotionally linked to the receiver for them to give whereas the religious person has lots of reasons to give.

    It did NOT, contrary to headlines across the lamestream media and liberal blogs, show that atheists were more “compassionate”, “kinder”, “less stingy”,… That atheists are less generous is not-debatable. Atheists will vote for liberal government social programs, but that’s being generous with OThER people’s money. 

  • Fellclaw

    I’m more interested in showing compassion because I want to, not to get anything out of it. That is called selfishness, not compassion.


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