Research press release


Nature Human Behaviour

Even atheists intuitively assume immoral people are probably atheists


Will Gervaisの研究チームは、宗教性の非常に強い社会(アラブ首長国連邦やインド)から世俗性の非常に強い社会(中国やオランダ)まで、5大陸13か国の3000人を対象に、不道徳な行為と無神論を結びつける認識について調べた。無神論者に対する偏見の程度を定量化するために、研究チームは調査参加者たちに、動物への虐待が高じてスリルを求めて殺人に及ぶ〈モラルに反する人物〉について書かれた文章を読ませた。そして参加者の半数に対しては、罪を犯したその人物が(1)「教師である」か、または(2)「宗教心のある教師である」のどちらである可能性が高いかを尋ねた。また残りの半数には、(1)「教師である」か、または(2)「神の存在を信じない教師である」のどちらである可能性が高いかを尋ねた。そして研究チームは、各群の回答者がどれほどの頻度で(2)より(1)を選択したかを測定した。


Both religious people and atheists intuitively assume that the perpetrators of extreme immoral actions, such as serial murder, are probably atheists, suggests a paper published online in Nature Human Behaviour this week. The study finds that this prejudice against atheists exists in most of the 13 countries studied, both religious and secular. It suggests that, even though overt religiosity has declined in many countries, millennia of religious exposure have enforced the persistent idea that morality requires religious belief.

Will Gervais and colleagues tested the perception of a link between immorality and atheism in more than 3,000 people from 13 different countries on 5 continents, ranging from very religious societies (for example, United Arab Emirates and India) to very secular (for example, China and the Netherlands). To quantify prejudice against atheists, they provided participants with a description of an immoral person who initially tortures animals and eventually kills people for thrills. Half of the participants were then asked whether it was more probable that the perpetrator was: (1) a teacher; or (2) a teacher who is a religious believer. For the other half, option (2) was a teacher who does not believe in god(s). The authors then measured how frequently people chose option (2) over option (1) in each group.

The authors find that people are almost twice as likely to view extreme immorality as representative of atheists than of believers (except in Finland and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand), and that atheist participants also show the same prejudice against atheists. The study reveals that intuitive moral suspicion of atheists, although not universal, is culturally widespread, appearing in both secular and religious societies, and among both believers and atheists. It also reveals a significant divergence between scientific and lay perceptions of the relationship between religion and morality: although studies suggest that core moral instincts appear to emerge largely independent of religion, lay perceptions of a necessary link between morality and religion appear to be very strong.

doi: 10.1038/s41562-017-0151 | 英語の原文

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