Well, to be fair, that’s not exactly what the researchers said. But it would be easy to draw those conclusions from a casual reading of two recent reports.
The first study, from the University of British Columbia, notes that “Analytic Thinking Can Decrease Religious Belief.” (Although, considering the methodology, which appears to have involved having people do a questionaire measuring religious belief, do some mental activities like filling out additional questionaires intentionally printed in hard-to-read fonts [to engage analytic reasoning skills], and then retesting their belief levels, I’m not really sure what this study actually shows).
The second report is from UC Berkeley, which states, “Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than are Non-Believers.” This study assessed levels of religious faith of participants and then examined how likely participants were to give “10 lab dollars” (??) to a stranger after watching a video about children living in poverty.
According to the lead researcher “Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people.”
Um. Okay. Maybe…