Belief in Angry God Keeps Students From Cheating

New research shows that those who believe in a loving and merciful God are more prone to cheat than those who believe in a punishing God.

According to research done by psychologist Azim F. Shariff from the University of Oregon and Ara Norenzayan from the University of British Columbia, belief in a forgiving God will not stop undergraduate students from cheating on exams.

“Taken together, our findings demonstrate, at least in some preliminary way, that religious beliefs do have an effect on moral behavior, but what matters more than whether you believe in a god is what kind of god you believe in,” Shariff said.

“What we found is that those people who see God as a more punitive, angry, vengeful God, they tend to – in a laboratory-based cheating measure – they cheat a lot less, whereas people who believe in God as a comforting, loving agent, forgiving agent seem to cheat more.”

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