Posted inResearch

Atheists and the common good

Reading Time: 3 minutes Existing studies had shown that the religious were more likely to volunteer than the nonreligious. Religious individuals are thought to be selflessly devoting their time and energy to better the lives of people around them. Perhaps God is not merely good on an individual basis, but also good for society at large.

Dr. Penny Edgell and I were the first researchers to compare the specific patterns of volunteering that atheists and religious individuals demonstrate. Our argument was bulletproof: If religion promotes altruism, then atheists should have comparatively lower levels of volunteering.

Holy hell, were we in for a surprise.

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