Most religious people live with the notion that raising their kids within their chosen faith ensures their children to become more generous and altruistic than secular kids when they grow up. But a new study at the University of Chicago suggests that the opposite is true.
According to the research published in the journal Cell, religious children seem to be less generous and altruistic than their non-religious counterparts. 1170 children between the ages of five to twelve from six countries – Canada, China, Jordan, South Africa, Turkey and the United States – were volunteered for the study. Majority of the households identified themselves as Christian, Muslim or non-religious and children from Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu homes were included as well, reports Discovery News.
The results showed that children from religious families were less likely to share with others than were children from non-religious families. AAAS reports that children from religious homes, particularly Muslims, showed a greater inclination to judge someone’s misdeeds as wrong and punish the perpetrators.
“Our findings contradict the common-sense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind toward others. In our study, kids from atheist and non-religious families were, in fact, more generous,” says the study’s lead author Jean Decety.
Decety has already expanded his research into 14 countries and he plans to continue his study on how religions influence children’s behavior.