Without God, everything is permitted? The reciprocal influence of religious and meta-ethical beliefs
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CitationYılmaz, O., & Bahçekapılı, H. G. (2015). Without God, everything is permitted? The reciprocal influence of religious and meta-ethical beliefs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 58, 95-100. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.01.003
The relation between religious and moral thought has been difficult to unravel because of the multifaceted nature of both religion and morality. We chose to study the belief dimension of religion and the meta-ethics dimension of morality and investigated the relation between God-related thoughts and objectivist/subjectivist morality in three studies. We expected a reciprocal relation between the idea of God and objective morality since God is one prominent way through which objective moral truths could be grounded and thus the lack of such objective truths might imply the absence of God who could set such truths. Study 1 revealed negative correlations between moral subjectivism and several measures of religious belief. Study 2 showed that people adopt moral objectivism more and moral subjectivism less after being implicitly primed with religious words in a sentence unscrambling task Study 3 showed that people express less confidence about the existence of God after reading a persuasive text about the subjective nature of moral truths. Taken together, the results demonstrate that religious and meta-ethical beliefs are indeed related and can reciprocally influence each other.