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Thinking from God’s perspective decreases biased valuation of the life of a nonbeliever

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posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 01:36 PM
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Religious belief is often seen as a key cause of human conflict because it is said to promote preferential treatment of adherents and to harden group boundaries. Here, we examined a critical aspect of this link in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a multigenerational violent conflict with significant religious aspects. We find that although Muslim Palestinian participants valued Palestinian over Jewish Israeli lives when making difficult moral choices, they believed that Allah preferred them to make moral decisions that valued the lives of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis more equally. Beliefs about God may promote more equal valuation of human life regardless of religious identity, encouraging application of universal moral rules to believers and nonbelievers alike.


I am an agnostic. I have suspended my judgement regarding the existence or the non-existence of a god, until further knowledge is available. I don't feel the need to believe in a god. And even if god himself presented his face in front of my nose, I would have to disagree with him on a number of matters.

This experiment is interesting because it shows how empathy can be activated with the aid of a fantasized figure such as god. This empathy is inside us, not outside us. We don't need a god in order to be benevolent, nor do we need a figure such as the devil to be malevolent. Now if we could all see ourselves as benevolent gods, with the responsibility that comes with it, that would be great..


Religious belief is often thought to motivate violence because it is said to promote norms that encourage tribalism and the devaluing of the lives of nonbelievers. If true, this should be visible in the multigenerational violent conflict between Palestinians and Israelis which is marked by a religious divide. We conducted experiments with a representative sample of Muslim Palestinian youth (n = 555), examining whether thinking from the perspective of Allah (God), who is the ultimate arbitrator of religious belief, changes the relative value of Jewish Israelis’ lives (compared with Palestinian lives). Participants were presented with variants of the classic “trolley dilemma,” in the form of stories where a man can be killed to save the lives of five children who were either Jewish Israeli or Palestinian. They responded from their own perspective and from the perspective of Allah. We find that whereas a large proportion of participants were more likely to endorse saving Palestinian children than saving Jewish Israeli children, this proportion decreased when thinking from the perspective of Allah. This finding raises the possibility that beliefs about God can mitigate bias against other groups and reduce barriers to peace.

Source
Link to the PDF for those who want to dig deeper into this experiment.




posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 02:49 PM
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The door is open, but the way is narrow. I could be 4/5 right and 1/5 left? Do two wrongs ever make a right? I can show you the body, but have yet to meet a man that can point to the head. I dream on my side of castles, with a mouthful of clay. What do you dream of?



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 03:00 PM
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originally posted by: gosseyn
And even if god himself presented his face in front of my nose, I would have to disagree with him on a number of matters.

Seems rather strange disagreeing with someone you've never even met.

So you don't believe in God, whom you've never met and yet his morals don't live up to your own?

You just might be surprised to learn that once you get to know a person, that he's actually nothing like the monster that his enemies have made him out to be...


originally posted by: gosseyn
I don't feel the need to believe in a god.


I actually find non-fiction to be far more interesting myself...


When you argue with reality, you lose - but only 100% of the time. - Byron Katie.



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 03:29 PM
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a reply to: Murgatroid


You just might be surprised to learn that once you get to know a person, that he's actually nothing like the monster that his enemies have made him out to be...


actualy every alledged god i have been told of - i vehemently disagreed with - based soley on the claims of its worshipers
edit on 8-1-2016 by ignorant_ape because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 03:51 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn

I like your OP and it would be even better without the quotation and source.

You make a good point that empathy is within us but projected to something outside of us (God)




edit on 8-1-2016 by crowdedskies because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 09:50 AM
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a reply to: gosseyn

An interesting topic, the practical benefits of religion.


We find that although Muslim Palestinian participants valued Palestinian over Jewish Israeli lives when making difficult moral choices, they believed that Allah preferred them to make moral decisions that valued the lives of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis more equally.

I am not sure that paying lip-service to an ideal while simultaneously acting against it should be counted among those benefits, though. It is one of the evils of religion that it encourages this kind of doublespeak and doublethink.

Still, it is unavoidable. Most of the benefits of religion arise precisely from its imperviousness to reason. We are rational beings, but only some of the time. The rest of the time we think and act instinctively, often irrationally, sometimes dangerously. Religion, I think, evolved to help us make sense of and at least partially control these irrational forces within us. It was later hijacked by the power-hungry because of its usefulness as an instrument of social control, but that was never its primary purpose.

Religion needs to be irrational, immoral and hypocritical in order to work properly.


edit on 9/1/16 by Astyanax because: because of the power-hungry.



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 11:54 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Yes but, the question is : is empathy rational ? I don't think it is. Empathy is as rational as art is.

We all have images in our mind. Even when we think about ourselves, what we think we are, what we think we represent, it is just a partial image, a fantasized image of who/what we are. If we wanted to have an exact image of who/what we are, we would have to take into account every act, and every thought, and every behavior, etc.. that we have ever had (and brain activity, blood pressure at every moment, even our atomic composition, why not ?), but it is impossible. This image of ourselves is also partially fabricated through what other minds around us reflect to us ; others are like a mirror in which we see ourselves, and to complexify things those others don't see us as we really are, but they also have their own biases and prejudices, their own filtering that stem from their own life experience.

So in the end, this image that we have of ourselves is as irrational as the image of god. And in the experiment, all they did what to swap an irrational image for another.



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 12:52 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn



Yes but, the question is : is empathy rational ?

Yes, it is.


I don't think it is.
I think you're mistaken.


Empathy is as rational as art is.


Empathy and Art are two of the most advanced obvious capabilities of the human being.

EDITED TO CHANGE 'advanced. I think animals have empathy, too - in fact, I KNOW it........
art? Well, art (and music) are a huge part of our condition.....

do other species practice art? Yes, they do. Bowerbird.
Do they have empathy? Elephants. Grieving pets. Koko.
Of course they do....

If you are awake and aware, you'd know this.



edit on 1/9/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 01:06 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn

Empathy certainly is instinctive. You don’t need intellect for it, and religion is not required either. The idea that God values our enemies’ lives as highly as our own, however, is not an expression of empathy. It is an idea: an intellectual construct, not an instinctive act.

There is room to doubt that it is even a religious idea. Christ enjoined his followers to love their enemies, but the God of the Hebrews was not so philanthropic: He gave detailed instructions on how to exterminate them. I also know of an ancient historical treatise in which a king is reassured by Buddhist monks that the deaths of the thousands whom he has slain in war will not burden him with karmic debt because they — essentially — weren’t Buddhists. The old pagans had no humanistic scruples: they set up war-gods and pledged their arms before them, and they carried their gods into battle so that the best god won. As for Islam, the Qu’ran specifically enjoins fighting unbelievers.

And even Christ’s injunction hasn’t stopped Christians from slaughtering their enemies in vast numbers, even when those enemies were themselves Christians of a slightly different outlook.

Perhaps the Palestinians’ scruples come from their exposure to modern humanistic thought rather than from religion. From the way the experiment is described in the paper there was absolutely no control for that possibility. Indeed, the experiment as described in the paper didn’t seem at all thorough or well-designed to me; I seriously doubt that the results can be replicated. Just a lot of wishful thinking, really.

By the way, the PDF you linked to was just a list of supplementary data tables. The actual paper (also in PDF format) can be found here.



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 02:14 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Everything is an intellectual construct, there is nothing in our minds that is not a fabrication, a very limited and distorted version of the real thing. Our identity of ourselves as an individual is a fabrication, our idea of others around us is a fabrication, our idea of god is a fabrication.

We just enter a narrative at some point and we assume the role of a character in that narrative, we tell ourselves a story. We see ourselves as being this or that but that is just an intellectual construct. And all intellectual constructs being equal, we can swap one for another, or just drop them all, or at least we can be conscious that all intellectual constructs are just that, fabrications.

The real problem is the emotional factor : we tend to cling to what we think we know, to our intellectual constructs. There is an emotional impact when we feel that our mind's fabrications are being attacked or questioned.

We all have different intellectual constructs, and it really doesn't matter if religion is objectively bad or good, because what matters is the image in the mind of the individual at a precise given instant.



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 02:16 PM
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originally posted by: BuzzyWigs
a reply to: gosseyn



Yes but, the question is : is empathy rational ?

Yes, it is.


I don't think it is.
I think you're mistaken.




I love well argued posts like yours.



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn

I have a feeling you are being sarcastic. My empathy is telling me that.


edit on 1/9/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 02:35 PM
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originally posted by: gosseyn
a reply to: Astyanax

Everything is an intellectual construct, there is nothing in our minds that is not a fabrication, a very limited and distorted version of the real thing. Our identity of ourselves as an individual is a fabrication, our idea of others around us is a fabrication, our idea of god is a fabrication.


Do you apply this to all mammals?



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn




I would have to disagree with him on a number of matters.


Then you are ilogical even by a Vulcans sense of logic.

"In critical moments men see only what they want to see".
And that blinds them from the ridiculous things they think.
Thinking you can match your puny intellect with God is
hilarious.


edit on Rpm10916v53201600000026 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 02:54 PM
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originally posted by: Annee

originally posted by: gosseyn
a reply to: Astyanax

Everything is an intellectual construct, there is nothing in our minds that is not a fabrication, a very limited and distorted version of the real thing. Our identity of ourselves as an individual is a fabrication, our idea of others around us is a fabrication, our idea of god is a fabrication.


Do you apply this to all mammals?


Well I don"t really know since all I can explore is my human mind. But if we take Pavlov's experiments with dogs for example, the dog salivates when the bell is rang even when there is no food coming, so we can say that in a way the reality to which the dog's organism has been used to is a fabrication, the dog's organism reacts to a fabrication.



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 03:00 PM
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originally posted by: gosseyn

originally posted by: Annee

originally posted by: gosseyn
a reply to: Astyanax

Everything is an intellectual construct, there is nothing in our minds that is not a fabrication, a very limited and distorted version of the real thing. Our identity of ourselves as an individual is a fabrication, our idea of others around us is a fabrication, our idea of god is a fabrication.


Do you apply this to all mammals?


Well I don"t really know since all I can explore is my human mind. But if we take Pavlov's experiments with dogs for example, the dog salivates when the bell is rang even when there is no food coming, so we can say that in a way the reality to which the dog's organism has been used to is a fabrication, the dog's organism reacts to a fabrication.


Or we can say that is man made behavior vs natural environment.



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 03:01 PM
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a reply to: gosseyn


the dog salivates when the bell is rang even when there is no food coming, so we can say that in a way the reality to which the dog's organism has been used to is a fabrication, the dog's organism reacts to a fabrication.

Exactly.

And so - when some Christians hear "the bell ring", many "salivate" at the idea of "Armageddon"........
a second coming.....
the rapture.

How, please, is that different from Pavlov's dogs (I don't think it is!)?




edit on 1/9/2016 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 03:01 PM
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originally posted by: randyvs

Thinking you can match your puny intellect with God is
hilarious.



Which God would that be?



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 03:04 PM
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a reply to: Annee

Any God! It would demean the definition of God if any man could match
a Gods intelligence.

Wouldn't you say?

edit on Rpm10916v08201600000024 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 9 2016 @ 03:06 PM
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originally posted by: BuzzyWigs
a reply to: gosseyn


the dog salivates when the bell is rang even when there is no food coming, so we can say that in a way the reality to which the dog's organism has been used to is a fabrication, the dog's organism reacts to a fabrication.

Exactly.

And so - when some Christians hear "the bell ring", many "salivate" at the idea of "Armageddon"........
a second coming.....
the rapture.

How, please, is that different from Pavlov's dogs (I don't think it is!)?



Good point.

Is this a nature vs nurture discussion?

Going back to read OP again. Brain affected by bad sinus cold.
edit on 9-1-2016 by Annee because: (no reason given)




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