Following the revelation that Americans, particularly millennials, are starting to skip that whole religion thing, we now have this: those with a religious upbringing are actually less likely to present generous character traits than the nonreligious. "Some past research had demonstrated that religious people aren’t more likely to do good than their nonreligious counterparts," Jean Decety of the University of Chicago said in a statement. "Our study goes beyond that by showing that religious people are less generous, and not only adults but children too."
Decety is the lead author of a recent study published in Current Biology, a study that found a "noticeable generosity gap" between the religious and nonreligious. In fact, this gap was found to increase alongside the level of religiosity in a household, meaning more religion just might equal less generosity overall. The authors of the study, according to Raw Story, recruited 1,170 children from six different countries (including Canada and the United States) to participate in a "resource allocation task," also known as the "dictator game."
The belief that children generally become less selfish with regards to sharing when they get older was proven correct by way of this "dictator game," though researchers also found that "the degree of religiosity," including the amount of time spent on religious matters in a household, appeared to predict less instances of altruism. In fact, nonreligious households predicted greater generosity than Christian household. Additionally, Christian households reportedly predicted greater generosity than Muslim households.
"Overall, our findings cast light on the cultural input of religion on prosocial behavior and contradict the common-sense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind toward others," the authors asserted in their findings. "More generally, they call into question whether religion is vital for moral development, supporting the idea that the secularization of moral discourse will not reduce human kindness. In fact, it will do just the opposite."