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Thread: Does Religious Belief Make You More Racist?

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    Does Religious Belief Make You More Racist?

    Sarah Estes Graham, Psychology Today, July 6, 2010

    {snip} But new research suggests that religious belief can also make you more racist. A recent meta-analysis (considered the gold standard for evidence in the research world) synthesized numerous studies from the Civil Rights Era to the present, considering intrinsic, extrinsic, and quest/agnostic religiosity, and found positive correlations between religiosity and racism in all but the agnostic group.

    Intrinsic, extrinsic, and agnostic, terms popularized by Harvard Psychologist Gordon Allport in the 1950’s and 60’s, are still widely used by social scientists conducting studies on religious belief and practice. Broadly defined, they correlate with fundamentalist and evangelical Christians (extrinsics), liberal Christians (intrinsics) and seekers or agnostics. Extrinsics prize social belonging and conformity to the status quo, and tend more toward right-wing authoritarianism. {snip} This is the group that provides the most fuel for red-state/blue-state, theist/atheist debates.

    Intrinsics value the internal seeking relationship and tend toward more progressive social ideals. {snip} Agnostics are a bit further down the openness line, religious to the extent that they are open to existential questions but undecided to the point of affiliational lack.

    The study found that both extrinsic and intrinsic believers showed more racial prejudice than those who were not religious. Extrinsics showed more racism in both explicit and implicit measures. Intrinsics stated that they were less racist on explicit self-report, but were equally biased on implicit measures (reaction-time tasks bypassing self-report, {snip}). Only the agnostics were less racist on both counts.

    There are a number of caveats to be considered before you drop your church membership or go trolling for prejudice on the nearest Christian message board. As we all know, correlation does not equal causation. When considering the effects of priming studies, one must be aware that certain primes can activate or trigger entire clusters of values. {snip} The meta-analyzers themselves noted that when they controlled for authoritarianism, the correlation between racism and religiosity disappeared.

    To get to the bottom of this causality question, an experiment was conducted at Baylor University (a Southern Christian University). This was the first study specifically designed to gauge the effects of religious primes on racial attitudes. The researchers subliminally primed different groups of participants with neutral and Christian primes, and found that the group receiving the religious primes showed a small but significant increase in prejudicial attitudes toward African Americans. It should be noted that the groups tested were predominantly white, Christian Americans. {snip}

    {snip}
    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives...eligious_1.php

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    Hmmm...that is interesting. There are Fundamental Christians who have black or other colored friends. Are they somehow excluded from this study and the few Christians who show "racist" attitudes only count to make an assumption?

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    What's about that most racist nation of all nations based specifically upon its religion. Ohh of course!! Some rules of political correctness don't apply to a specific and selective religious ethnicity..

    Oh dear!! Is this fact a racist (sectarian!) statement ?
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    Well, I really believe it has nothing to do with religion. Racism is just natural order, people have a natural drive to protect their own race.

    I could see where religion might make some people more aware of their race and their wish to preserve it. Overall though I think it is whether people try and refuse nature that makes them not racist.

    Also some religions are based on guilt. The belief that you were born out of sin for example. This feeling of guilt is used by multiculturalist to tell people racism is a bad thing. When in fact it is just natural to want to see your own kind preserved.

    I really think this study was made to make people feel guilty about being a racist as it targeted the biggest guilt based religion there is.
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    It all depends what the term racist means. Racism, has meant many things too many different people. But if we separate 'race' and 'ism' we are left with quite a benign concept.

    Race naturally is an anthropological constructed, that based in empirical analysis, certain groups of humans can be grouped according to facial features, skin tone, height, etc, etc. Nothing to controversial here!

    'Ism' is a suffix that forms abstract nouns of action, state, condition, doctrine, therefore 'ism' created a notion of the study of race.

    Thus racism is simply the academic inquiry into the state of the ontological reality that certain humans possess different characteristics, as a result of numerous external and internal factors.

    But what is 'classical' meant by racism from are friends in the left of the political spectrum, is that racism, means that one group is superior to another. Well at least that is how I see it. They are the ones who add this element of superiority, and the moral impactions that this implies. However, from a simply evolutionary perspective, certain characteristics are superior in certain areas. For example white skin in cold countries or black in hot ones, etc etc.

    Notice the hostility in the modern conceptualization of racism and superiority, which by definition means that blacks are fundamentally inferior to whites, hence the evilness of racism. They know this, and that is way racism is bad.

    In terms of Religion and race, race is a scientific concept (or more accurately an anthropological concept) and I fail to see how religion would make a person more racist, since the paradigm for racism (evolutionary biology or scientific inquiry) generally did not exist when 'religion' was created.

    That said 'religion' original meaning is from Latin 'to bind the people' or 'bring them together' so in a way religion is naturally a way of bringing 'people' (may be in a racial sense) together. To my knowledge the original meaning of religion did not have any spiritual connotations, but I may be wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irby
    But what is 'classical' meant by racism from are friends in the left of the political spectrum, is that racism, means that one group is superior to another. Well at least that is how I see it. They are the ones who add this element of superiority, and the moral impactions that this implies.
    Very well identified


    Quote Originally Posted by Irby
    In terms of Religion and race, race is a scientific concept (or more accurately an anthropological concept) and I fail to see how religion would make a person more racist, since the paradigm for racism (evolutionary biology or scientific inquiry) generally did not exist when 'religion' was created.
    It is not an anthropological "concept" but simple 'anthropological' (biological) facts that are ingrained into your instincts.

    Instinct makes you look for a mating partner that is most similar to yourself, because it promises the best result in offspring. Your instinct makes you cautious against people who are not similar to yourself, to the degree that you fear people who are most dissimilar to yourself.

    This is instinct, your very survival instinct, that makes you "racist" - to protect yourself and to be succesful in reproduction. That at one point someone came and scientifically researched it and gave scientific explanations does not change these facts to an 'invented' concept.

    From that follows that you "discriminate" against dissimilar people who try to intrude into your group of similar people. They do not belong there. You dont discriminate because you think you're superior or the other inferior, but simply because you realise the difference and the from this following incompatibility.

    Now, religion, or rather the package "cult <-> culture" (an intertwined system that mutually influence each other and generate more/other/deeper bonds among the members of this similar group) indeed deepens the bond to the artificial culture-complex, that furthers certain traits and behavior and discriminates against other traits and behavior. This adds to the biological instinct layer a layer of societal structures, which makes it even harder for dissimilar people to intrude into this system. Insofar "cult" (the original form; Sitte, customs, habits) does indeed make you more "racist".

    Now, cult is not the same like religion, a term that rather only applies to the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), a "belief system" that did not originate in homogenous groups but in multi-racial regions with many different cults and many different people and many different languages. Nonetheless, Judaism is the only religion that still has the command of racial purity (Plato also wrote about racial purity btw, so the "concept" really isnt new at all), where it is eradicated in Christianity and Islam. So it is questionable whether Christianity or Islam manifests or furthers "racism" or not, as both believe that they should rule the world and all (different) people regardless of their race or region.

    Whether it is intentionally or not, but even Christianity brought forth "racism", simply through the fact that only homogenous racial groups can form a really homogenous community that functions. And until something like 150 years ago racial homogenous groups were still a simple reality in most countries (at least in the socalled "West"; in southern Europe, the middle east etc where the multicult is reality for 2000 years already, this might be different), so there was neither opportunity nor need to try to overwrite instinct. This is a relatively new development and christianity proved effective in doing so as well.
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    The current educational systems tries to make people "sensitive about race issues" and makes a complete re-education, so the higher educated you are, usually also if you are more intelligent, you are - as a tendency and on average - less racist.

    But not because you are so intelligent, that you see "racism is wrong", because you being filled with memetic codes, with political implications over time in a rather passive way, even in studies which have zero to do with race from a scientific perspective - probably even more so in those at times.

    So it is a question of socialisation, the dumber and less educated people tend to be, on average, more racist or at least "less race sensitive" = re-educated.

    Now essentially the same is true, on average, for religious ideas and beliefs, though here intelligence being more involved actually. Unless there is a complete socialisation procedure and social pressure working on intelligent people with no alternatives shown, they will always tend to be, on average, less religious in a traditional sense.

    Obviously if you are a practising Evangelical, chances are higher you have a certain psychological condition, are less intelligent, less educated, living in a rather small scale social environment, countryside etc. or coming from those backgrounds and so on.

    I'm pretty sure, that if the mainstream would be "turned" and scientific Racialism would be taught, things would turn exactly in the opposite direction, with the religious people being actually less racist than the average or non-religious ones - if it's about the same religions which dominate now at least.

    If looking at the German situation under National Socialism, that was exactly the case. Primarily Marxists and "backward religious people" were significantly less racialist, while a large portion of the scientific community and better educated people were actually more racialist.

    So religion just provides a frame which supports a different cultural tradition beside the societal mainstream in various ways, usually having rules on their own and being more important for people which are less educated, less intelligent and culturally more backward or isolated.

    Summing that up, it makes sense for the current situation, but like often in this modern societal sciences and with their results, one cannot draw, by any stretch of imagination, some general rules from that, other than that this mico-environment provides ways of alternative thinking and reasoning beside the "mainstream" and based on the respective religious teaching and interpretations.

    Memetic codes = cultural traditions are highly important for any aspect of social life and reasoning, and one of the strongest being religion, which works the best in certain people or under specific (usually bad) conditions.

    Religion can be interpreted differently and even if the basic rules of Christianity and Islam are essentially "anti-racist", that doesn't mean alternative interpretations aren't possible, as absurd as they might be. Yet Neo-Christianity is a development back to roots, but even this back to the roots can have different meanings, primarily depending on whether you are a real Christian or an old testament literal believer (Evangelicals). Because the Jewish old testament provides - like expected, more notions of ethnoracial reason and interests - though everything is about the "chosen people", one can easily interpret things, especially with the twisted Evangelicals minds, to something more "fitting" for racialist ideas even, though this against the Evangelical mainstream as well.

    However, crucial is finally the aspect mentioned above, because it also determines what the religious people want to hear - if its a "roots religion" on a very low intellectual level, chances are higher they want "popular racialist prejudices".

    Higher level religious racialism was primarily possible if the mainstream already adopted racialist beliefs and not just the fringes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by velvet View Post
    Very well identified

    It is not an anthropological "concept" but simple 'anthropological' (biological) facts that are ingrained into your instincts.
    I was not giving primacy to either concepts or facts, as both cannot be considered absolute truths. What I meant by an anthropological concept is that, to create a conceptual idea (which race is) is to separate one aspect of the evidence, for example human appearance, from other aspects of the social totality, which could include material culture, language, economic activity etc, etc.

    Thus when we separate 'race' from a social totality, say for example in current ethnographic evidence or historically in the case of the archaeology evidence, we create a concept.

    The point is that when you separate one aspect of the 'evidence', such as subsistence or geography or material culture, you look at that evidence as an abstract 'concept', meaning, not part of a whole.

    Race does not exist as an independent 'fact', but as part of the social totality of the lived human experience. How can we explain race, without reference to the local environement or the historical processes that lead to the creation of a certian group of people.

    Put simply, this is a case of mistaking the parts for the whole.
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