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June 13, 2011

Religious Belief Indirectly Linked to Torture

by juju2112

A recent study linked religiosity to support of torture. The link was not direct, but indirect. It’s summed up nicely in the below quote from the blog Epiphenom:

What [the study] found was consistent with a set up where religion makes people conservative, and that in turn makes them support torture. In other words, religion has a direct and an indirect effect. Basic religion (in their model) opposes torture, but it also increases support for conservative politics. As a result, it indirectly increases support for torture.

What’s more, this indirect effect was much stronger in in educated people. In educated people, religion is more likely to be linked to conservative views, and conservative views are more likely to be linked to support for torture.

I’d like to see more information on the statistical techniques used before I believe this. It certainly fits my stereotype that religion is bad, but I don’t think that necessarily makes it right.

Could it be that lack of critical thinking skills has more to do with this? Because torture victims will really tell you anything you want to hear, it doesn’t make sense to use it to get information. Any information you get is liable to be wrong. Perhaps not realizing this and not realizing there is no God comes from some similar failing?

On the other hand, that’s not the reason I’m against torture. I’m against it because I am against human suffering. I value human life and I don’t want to see anyone (even my enemies) in excruciating pain. Religious people are for these values, too. So what is it about conservative politics that makes religious folk discard these cherished beliefs?

[Via Andrew Sullivan]


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