Increased religiosity in countries affects attitudes toward sexual morality, study shows

October 02, 2003

When a nation's overall levels of religious belief and attendance are high, its citizens voice greater disapproval of divorce, homosexuality, abortion and prostitution -- issues involving sexual morality. But religiosity is less likely to spur such disapproval for cheating on taxes or accepting bribes in public office, says two Penn State researchers.

Dr. Roger Finke, professor of sociology, says that religiosity, both on the societal and individual level, is far less likely to discourage thoughts about giving the government false information, accepting bribes while in public office, buying stolen goods or avoiding a public transportation fare. In these cases, people tend to be deterred less by religious beliefs and rituals than by secular laws that apply to believers and nonbelievers alike.

"This is not to say that religious people are MORE inclined to cheat on their taxes," Finke adds. "What our findings DO show is that individual and overall country levels of religiosity have only a minimal effect on the tendency to cheat on taxes because a government prohibition is already in place."

The researchers' analysis defined religiosity not as a vague spiritual feeling of oneness with the universe but a set of beliefs and rituals centering on a personal, all-powerful and morally concerned God or gods. Such is the situation in countries where statistical analysis reveals high levels of religiosity (e.g. the United States, the Philippines, Poland, Nigeria, India).

Finke and Amy Adamczyk, doctoral student in sociology, presented their findings recently at the annual American Sociological Association conference meeting. The two researchers used data from the 1998 International Social Survey Program (ISSP) "Religion" module and the 1997 World Values Survey (WVS), also international in scope. Their sample consisted of 46 nations and 63,158 individual participants.

"In nations with lower levels of religious activity (e.g. Sweden, Denmark, Japan, the former East Germany), the positive influence of individual religiosity on sexual morality will be reduced," Adamczyk notes.
-end-


Penn State

Related Religious Belief Articles from Brightsurf:

Explaining the religious vote for Trump
New research by Louisiana State University sociologists indicate it wasn't Christian nationalism that drove churchgoers' Trump vote in 2016.

India's clean fuel transition slowed by belief that firewood is better for well-being
India's transition to clean cooking fuels may be hampered by users' belief that using firewood is better for their families' wellbeing than switching to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), a new study reveals.

Belief in conspiracy theories is a barrier to controlling spread of COVID-19
Belief in conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic was inversely related to the perceived threat of the pandemic; taking of preventive actions, including wearing a face mask; and the intention to be vaccinated when there is a COVID-19 vaccine.

Study suggests unconscious learning underlies belief in God
Individuals who can unconsciously predict complex patterns, an ability called implicit pattern learning, are likely to hold stronger beliefs that there is a god who creates patterns of events in the universe, according to neuroscientists at Georgetown University.

How power distance belief affects consumers' price sensitivity
Consumers high in PDB (Power Density Belief) are less price-sensitive.

Studies find link between belief in conspiracy theories and political engagement
A belief in the existence of conspiracies seems to go hand-in-hand with the assumption that political violence is an acceptable option

Lack of media skepticism tied to belief in rape myths
People who tend to recognize similarities between people they know and people depicted in the media are more likely to believe common myths about sexual assault, according to a new study co-led by a Cornell researcher.

Flagging false Facebook posts as satire helps reduce belief
If you want to convince people not to trust an inaccurate political post on Facebook, labeling it as satire can help, a new study finds.

Developed countries may become more religious in 20 years
Researchers from HSE University and RANEPA found that in high-income countries, age, rather than the cohort effect, has more impact on religiosity.

Belief in learning styles myth may be detrimental
Many people, including educators, believe learning styles are set at birth and predict both academic and career success even though there is no scientific evidence to support this common myth, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Read More: Religious Belief News and Religious Belief Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.