Dave and I recently did a podcast on sharing where Dave opened the topic with an observation that people outside the church seemed to be sharing more than those inside the church. Recent research seems to point in this direction as well. Here’s an excerpt from a recent study referenced by the LA Times.
Children who grow up in nonreligious homes are more generous and altruistic than children from observant families. A series of experiments involving 1,170 kids from a variety of religious backgrounds found that the non-believers were more likely to share stickers with their classmates and less likely to endorse harsh punishments for people who pushed or bumped into others.The results “contradict the common-sense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind toward others,” according to a study published this week in the journal Current Biology.
The study essentially says that children brought up in “religious” households are less likely to share than those that haven’t. Doesn’t surprise me a bit. And that’s because religion isn’t the same thing as faith. Faith done right is a “verb”. It’s action-oriented and goes beyond cognitive assent (mere “belief” that something is true). Religion is often superficial and dogmatic, and often times, sadly, judgmental and tribal at the expense of others. Essentially, the opposite of what is found in sharing.
So forget about religion. But don’t forget about what Christ calls you to do in loving God and loving others. We’re better when we share together.