Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, Vol 4, No 2 (2016)

Divine Forgiveness and Human Support for State-Sanctioned Punishment

Katherine M. O'Lone, Ryan T. McKay
Issued Date: 29 Apr 2019

Abstract


Laurin et al. 2012b found that beliefs in powerful Gods (both in general and when made salient) reduce people's endorsement of state-sanctioned punishment. Here we investigate whether the specific manner in which a powerful God responds to moral infractions (via forgiveness or punishment) influences people's endorsement of state-sanctioned punishment. Across four studies, we explored whether endorsement of state-sanctioned punishment is increased a) when participants are primed with the notion of a forgiving (cf. punitive) God (Studies 1 & 2) and b) when beliefs in a forgiving God are made salient (Studies 3a & 3b). A forgiving God might lead people to view punishment as their responsibility rather than one to be outsourced to God. Our results revealed no evidence for effects of forgiving God primes or salient forgiving God beliefs on endorsement of state-sanctioned punishment. However we did find that both forgiving and punishing God beliefs, when salient, were significant predictors of endorsement of state-sanctioned punishment in response to a victim-directed transgression. We discuss the implications of these findings for extant theories of religious prosociality. In particular, we suggest that existing accounts of human prosociality and cooperation have underestimated the role of divine forgiveness in favour of a focus on divine punishment.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/jcsr.34356

References


Ahmed, Ali. M and Osvaldo Salas. 2011. “Implicit Influences of Christian Religious Representations on Dictator and Prisoner’s Dilemma Game Decisions.” Journal of Socio-Economics 40: 242–246. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2010.12.013

Atkinson, Quentin. D and Pierre Bourrat. 2011. “Beliefs about God, the Afterlife and Morality Support the Role of Supernatural Policing in Human Cooperation.” Evolution and Human Behavior 32(1): 41–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.07.008

Bader, Christopher D., Scott A. Desmond, F. Carson Mencken and Byron R. Johnson. 2010. “Divine Justice: The relationship between Images of God and Attitudes towards criminal Punishment.” Criminal Justice Review 35: 90–106. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734016809360329

Barak-Corren, Netta and Max. H. Bazerman. 2017. “Is Saving Lives Your Task or God’s? Religiosity, Belief in God and Moral Judgment.” Judgment and Decision Making 12(3): 280–296.

Barclay, Pat. 2006. “Reputational Benefits for Altruistic Punishment.” Evolution and Human Behavior 27(5): 325–344. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.01.003

Baumard, Nicolas. 2011. “Punishment Is Not a Group Adaptation: Humans Punish to Restore Fairness Rather Than to Support Group Cooperation.” Mind and Society 10(1): 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11299-010-0080-3

Baumard, Nicolas, Jean-Baptiste André and Dan Sperber. 2013. “A Mutualistic Approach to Morality.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36(1): 59–122. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x11002202

Baumard, Nicolas and Mark Sheskin. 2015. “Partner Choice and the Evolution of a Contractualist Morality.” In The Moral Brain, edited by Jean Decety and Thalia Wheatley, 35–48. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Bering, Jesse M. 2006. “The Folk Psychology of Souls.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29: 453–498.

———. 2011. The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life. New York and London: W.W. Norton.

Boyd, Robert, Herbert Gintis, Samuel Bowles and Peter J. Richerson. 2003. “The Evolution of Altruistic Punishment.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. USA, 100: 3531–3535. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0630443100

Bushman, Brad J., Robert D. Ridge, Enny Das, Colin W. Key and Gregory L. Busath. 2007. “When God Sanctions Killing: Effect of Scriptural Violence on Aggression.” Psychological Science 18: 204–207. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01873.x

Buss, David M. 1999. Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind. London: Allyn and Bacon.

Carlsmith, Kevin M., John M. Darley and Paul H. Robinson. 2002. “Why Do We Punish? Deterrence and Just Desserts as Motives for Punishment.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83: 284–299. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.83.2.284

Cosmides, Leda and John Tooby. 1987. “From Evolution to Behavior: Evolutionary Psychology as the Missing Link.” In The Latest on the Best: Essays on Evolution and Optimality, edited by John Dupre, 277–306. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0012217300048599

De Bono, Kenneth and Anja Kuschpel. 2014. “Gender Differences in Religiosity: The Role of Self-Monitoring.” North American Journal of Psychology, 16(2): 415–425.

de Quervain, Dominique J. F., Urs Fischbacher, Valerie Treye, Melanie Schellhammer, Ulrich Schnyder, Alfred Buck and Ernst Fehr. 2004. “The Neural Basis of Altruistic Punishment.” Science 305: 1254-1259.

Difallah, Djellel, Elena Filatova and Panos Ipeirotis. 2018. “Demographics and Dynamics of Mechanical Turk Workers.” In Proceedings of WSDM 2018: The Eleventh ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining, 135–143. February 5–9. Marina Del Rey, CA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3159652.3159661

Dreber, Anna, David G. Rand, Drew Fudenberg and Martin A. Nowak. 2008. “Winners Don’t Punish.” Nature 452(7185): 348–351. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06723

Evans, T. David and Mike Adams. 2003. “Salvation or Damnation? Religion and Correctional Ideology”. American Journal of Criminal Justice 28: 15–35. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02885750

Fehr, Ernst and Simon Gächter. 2000. “Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments.” American Economic Review 90(4): 980–994. https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.90.4.980

———. 2002. “Altruistic Punishment in Humans.” Nature 415(6868): 137–140. https://doi.org/10.1038/415137a

———. 2003. “The Puzzle of Human Cooperation—A Reply.” Nature 421: 912.

Gangemi, Amelia and Francesca Mancini. 2013. “Moral Choices: The Influence of the Do Not Play God Principle.” In Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Cooperative Minds: Social Interaction and Group Dynamics, edited by M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz and I. Wachsmuth, 2973-2977. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Gervais, Will M. 2014. “Everything Is Permitted? People Intuitively Judge Immorality as Representative of Atheists.” PLoS ONE 9(4): e92302. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092302

Gervais, Will M. and Ara Norenzayan. 2012a. “Like a Camera in the Sky? Thinking about God Increases Public Self-Awareness and Socially Desirable Responding.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48: 298–302. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.09.006

———. 2012b. “Analytic Thinking Promotes Religious Disbelief.” Science 336(6080): 493–496. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1215647

Ginges, Jeremy, Ian Hansen and Ara Norenzayan. 2009. “Religion and Support for Suicide Attacks.” Psychological Science 20: 224–230. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02270.x

Grasmick, Harold G., Elizabeth Davenport, Mitchell B. Chamlin and Robert J. Bursik. 1992. “Protestant Fundamentalism and the Retributive Doctrine of Punishment.” Criminology 30(1): 21–46. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1992.tb01092.x

Grasmick, Harold G., Karyl Kinsey and John K. Cochran. 1991. “Denomination, Religiosity and Compliance with the Law: A Study of Adults.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 30: 99107. https://doi.org/10.2307/1387152

Greene, Joshua D., R. Brian Sommerville, Leigh E. Nystrom, John M. Darley and Jonathon D. Cohen. 2001. “An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgment.” Science, 293: 2105–2108. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1062872

Harrell, Ashley. 2012. “Do Religious Cognitions Promote Prosociality?” Rationality and Society 24(4): 463–482. https://doi.org/10.1177/1043463112463930

Henrich, Joseph, Steve J. Heine and Ara Norenzayan. 2010. “Beyond WEIRD: Towards a Broad-based Behavioral Science.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33: 111–135. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x10000725

Herrmann, Benedikt, Christian Thöni and Simon Gächter. 2008. “Antisocial Punishment across Societies.” Science 319: 1362–1367. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1153808

Ironson, Gail, Rick Stuetzle, R. Dale Ironson, Elizabeth Balbin, Heidemarie Kremer, Annie George, Neil Schneiderman and Mary Ann Fletcher. 2011. “View of God as Benevolent and Forgiving or Punishing and Judgmental Predicts HIV Disease Progression.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine 34(6): 414–425. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-011-9314-z

Johnson, Dominic D. P. 2005. “God’s Punishment and Public Goods: A Test of the Supernatural Punishment Hypothesis in 186 World Countries.” Human Nature 16(4): 410–446. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-005-1017-0

Johnson, Dominic D. P. 2009. “The Error of God: Error Management Theory, Religion and the Evolution of Cooperation.” In Games, Groups and the Global Good, edited by Simon A. Levin, 169-180. Berlin: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-85436-4_10

———. 2011. “Why God Is the Best Punisher.” Religion, Brain and Behavior 1: 77–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/2153599x.2011.558714

———. 2016. God Is Watching You. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Johnson, Dominic D. P. and Jesse M. Bering. 2006. “Hand of God, Mind of Man: Punishment and Cognition in the Evolution of Cooperation.” Evolutionary Psychology 4(1): 219–233. https://doi.org/10.1177/147470490600400119

Johnson, Dominic D. P. and 0liver Krüger. 2004. “The God of Wrath: Supernatural Punishment and the Evolution of Cooperation.” Political Theology 5(2): 159–176. https://doi.org/10.1558/poth.2004.5.2.159

Johnson, Kathryn A., Richie Liu, Elizabeth A. Minton, Darrell E. Bartholomew, Mark Peterson, Adam B. Cohen and Jeremy, Kees. 2017. “Citizens’ Representations of God and Support for Sustainability Policies.” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 36(2): 362–378. https://doi.org/10.1509/jppm.16.108

Johnson, Kathryn A. and Adam B. Cohen. 2016. “Authoritarian and Benevolent God Representations and the Two Sides of Prosociality.” Behavioral And Brain Sciences 39: 32. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x15000461

Johnson, Kathryn A., Yexin Jessica Li, Adam B. Cohen and Morris A. Okun. 2013. “Friends in High Places: The Influence of Authoritarian and Benevolent God-Concepts on Social Attitudes and Behaviors.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 5(1): 15–22. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030138

Johnson, Megan K., Wade C. Rowatt and Jordan LaBouff. 2010. “Priming Christian Religious Concepts Increases Racial Prejudice.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 1(2): 119–126. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550609357246

Jonas, Eva, Jeff Schimel, Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski. 2002. “The Scrooge Effect: Evidence that Mortality Salience Increases Prosocial Attitudes and Behavior.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28: 1342–1353. https://doi.org/10.1177/014616702236834

Karremans, Johan C. and Paul A. M. Van Lange. 2004. “Back to Caring after Being Hurt: The Role of Forgiveness.” European Journal of Social Psychology 34: 207–227. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.192

Karremans, Johan C., Paul A. M. Van Lange and Rob W. Holland. 2005. “Forgiveness and Its Association with Prosocial Thinking, Feeling and Doing beyond the Relationship with the Offender.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 31(10): 1315–1326. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167205274892

Laurin, Karin, Aaron C. Kay and Gráinne M. Fitzsimons. 2012a. “Divergent Effects of Activating Thoughts of God on Self-Regulation.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102: 4–21. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025971

Laurin, Kristin, Azim F. Shariff, Joseph Henrich and Aaron C. Kay. 2012b. “Outsourcing Punishment to God: Beliefs in Divine Control Reduce Earthly Punishment.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279(1741): 3272–3281. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.0615

Lipsey, Nikolette, Gabrielle Pogge, James Shepperd and Wendi Miller. 2016. “Views of God and Consequences for Behavior.” Poster session presented at the seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA.

Mayr, Susanne, Edgar Erdfelder, Axel Buchner and Franz F. Faul. 2007. “A Short Tutorial of GPower.” Tutorials in Quantitative Methods for Psychology 3(2): 51–59. https://doi.org/10.20982/tqmp.03.2.p051

McCullough, Michael E., Giacomo Bono and Lyndsey M. Root. 2005. “Religion and Forgiveness.” In Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, edited by Raymond F. Paloutzian and Crystal L. Park, 394–411. New York: Guilford.

McCullough, Michael. E., Frank D. Fincham and Jo-Ann Tsang. 2003. “Forgiveness, Forbearance, and Time: The Temporal Unfolding of Transgression-related Interpersonal Motivations.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 3: 540–557. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.84.3.540

McKay, Ryan and Harvey Whitehouse. 2015. “Religion and Morality.” Psychological Bulletin 141(2): 447–473. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038455

———. 2016. “Religion Promotes a Love for Thy Neighbour: But How Big is the Neighbourhood.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 39: 35. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x15000503

Miller, Monica and Brian H. Bornstein. 2006. “The Use of Religion in Death Penalty Sentencing Trials.” Law and Human Behavior 30: 675–684. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-006-9056-6

Nikiforakis, Nikos. 2008. “Punishment and Counter-Punishment in Public Good Games: Can We Really Govern Ourselves?” Journal of Public Economics 92(1-2): 91–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2007.04.008

Nikiforakis, Nikos and Dirk Engelmann. 2011. “Altruistic Punishment and the Threat of Feuds.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 78(3): 319–332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2011.01.017

Norenzayan, Ara and Azim F. Shariff. 2008. “The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality.” Science 322: 58–62. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1158757

Norenzayan, Ara, Azim Shariff, Will M. Gervias, Aiyana Willard, Rita A. McNamara, Edward Slingerland and Joseph Henrich. 2016. “The Cultural Evolution of Prosocial Religions.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39: 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x14001356

Ostrom, Elinor, James Walker and Roy Gardner. 1992. “Covenants with and without a Sword: Self Governance Is Possible.” American Political Science Review 86: 404–417. https://doi.org/10.2307/1964229

Pargament, Kenneth I., Michael E. McCullough and Carl E. Thoresen. 2000. “The Frontier of Forgiveness: Seven Directions for Psychological Study and Practice.” In Forgiveness: Theory, Research and Practice, edited by Michael McCullough, Kenneth Pargament, and Carl Thoresen, 299–320. New York: Guilford.

Pichon, Isabelle, Giulio Boccato and Vassilis Saroglou. 2007. “Nonconscious Influences of Religion on Prosociality: A Priming Study.” European Journal of Social Psychology 37(5): 1032–1045. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.416

Preston, Jesse L. and Ryan S. Ritter. 2013. “Different Effects of Religion and God on Prosociality with the Ingroup and Outgroup.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39(11): 1471–1483. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167213499937

Preston, Jesse L., Ritter Ryan S. and Hernandez J. Ivan. 2010. “Principles of Religious Prosociality: A Review and Reformulation.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4(8): 574–590. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00286.x

Randolph-Seng, Brandon and Michael E. Nielsen. 2007. “Honesty: One Effect of Primed Religious Representations.” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 17: 303–315. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508610701572812

Ritter, Ryan. S. and Jessie. L. Preston. 2013. “Representations of Religious Words: Insights for Religious Priming Research.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52: 494–507. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12042

Roth, Louise Marie and Jeffrey C. Kroll. 2006. “Risky Business: Assessing Risk-Preference Explanations for Gender Differences in Religiosity.” American Sociological Review 72(2): 205–220. https://doi.org/10.1177/000312240707200204

Rye, Mark S., Kenneth I. Pargament, M. Amir Ali, Guy L. Beck, Elliot N. Dorff, Charles Hallisey, Vasudha Narayanan and James G. Williams. 2000. “Religious Perspectives on Forgiveness.” In Forgiveness: Theory, Research and Practice edited by Michael McCullough, Kenneth Pargament and Carl Thoresen, 17–40. New York: Guilford.

Saroglou, Vassilis, Olivier Corneille and Patty Van Cappellen. 2009. “‘Speak, Lord, Your Servant Is Listening’: Religious Priming Activates Submissive Thoughts and Behaviors.” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 19: 143–154. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508610902880063

Schloss, Jeffrey and Michael J. Murray. 2011. “Evolutionary Accounts of Belief in Supernatural Punishment: A Critical Review.” Religion, Brain and Behavior 1(1): 46–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/2153599x.2011.558707

Shariff, Azim F. and Ara Norenzayan. 2007. “God Is Watching You: Priming God Concepts Increases Prosocial Behavior in an Anonymous Economic Game.” Psychological Science 18: 803–809. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01983.x

———. 2011. “Mean Gods Make Good People.” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 21: 85–96.

Shariff, Azim F. and Mijke Rhemtulla. 2012. “Divergent Effects of Beliefs in Heaven and Hell on National Crime Rates.” PLoS One 7(6): e39048. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039048

Shariff, Azim F., Aiyana K. Willard, Teresa Andersen, and Ara Norenzayan. 2016. “Religious Priming: A Meta-Analysis with a Focus on Prosociality.” Personality and Social Psychology Review 20(1): 27–48. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868314568811

Sherman, Allen C., Thomas V. Merluzzi, James E. Pustejovsky, Crystal L. Park, Login George, George Fitchett, Heather S. L. Jim, Alexis R. Munoz, Suzanne C. Danhauer, Mallory A. Snyder and John M. Salsman. 2015. “A Meta‚ÄźAnalytic Review of Religious or Spiritual Involvement and Social Health among Cancer Patients.” Cancer 121(21): 3779–3788. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.29352

Sober, Elliot and David S. Wilson. 1998. Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.1086/233289

Stark, Rodney. 2002. “Physiology and Faith: Addressing the ‘Universal’ Gender Difference in Religious Commitment.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 41(3): 495–507. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5906.00133

Sullins, D. Paul. 2006. “Gender and Religion: Deconstructing Universality, Constructing Complexity.” American Journal of Sociology 112(3): 838–880. https://doi.org/10.1086/507852

Sunstein, C. 2005. “Moral Heuristics.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28: 531-573.

Thalheimer, Will and Samantha Cook. 2002. How to Calculate Effect Sizes from Published Research: A Simplified Methodology. Somerville, MA: Work-Learning Research.

Thompson, Edward H., Jr. 1991. “Beneath the Status Characteristic: Gender Variations in Religiousness.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 30(4): 382–394. https://doi.org/10.2307/1387275

Unnever, James D. and Francis. T. Cullen. 2006. “Christian Fundamentalism and Support for Capital Punishment.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 43: 169–197. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022427805280067

Unnever, James D., Francis T. Cullen and John P. Bartkowski. 2006. “Images of God and Capital Punishment: Does a Close Relationship with a Loving God Matter?” Criminology 44(4): 835–866. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00065.x

Walter, Tony and Grace Davie. 1998. “The Religiosity of Women in the Modern West.” British Journal of Sociology 49(4): 640–660.

Wilson, David S. 2002. Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion and the Nature of Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Yilmaz, Onurcan and Hasan G. Bahçekapili. 2016. “Supernatural and Secular Monitors Promote Human Cooperation only if They Remind of Punishment.” Evolution and Human Behavior 37(1): 79–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.09.005

Zaleskiewicz, Tomasz, Agata Gasiorowska and Pelin Kesebir. 2015. “The Scrooge Effect Revisited: Mortality Salience Increases the Satisfaction Derived from Prosocial Behavior.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 59: 67–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.03.005


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy