Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Here's the thing

Brother, can you spare a paradigm? 

Start with the headline:

Study: Religious more likely to lie for financial gain 

Uh, no. Here's the first giveaway:
However, he discovered other factors predicted a greater likelihood of telling an untruth—including the assertion that religion plays an important role in your life. 

And here's the second:

 “We find that sex, age, grade point average, student debt, size of return, socioeconomic status, and average time spent in religious observation are not related to the decision to lie,” Childs writes in the journal Economics Letters.

And the third:

Those for whom religion was more important to their lives. “This is surprising,” Childs writes, as most religions “promote honesty as a virtue. It may be that students for whom religion was important feel separate from other students at this largely secular university,” and thus feel less compelled to be honest with them.

Or it may be the religion isn't that important in their lives, they just think they should say so.  Or it may be what's important in their lives is attending worship services and other church functions, but not really anything to do with being "religious" such as all that "virtuous" stuff.  Oh, except they're convinced they are virtuous, even when they aren't.  Ordinary Christians, in other words (it's harsh and excessive to call 'em "hypocrites."  Let he who is without sin....)

So at most what you have, assuming (perhaps wrongly!) that the majority of these self-identifying "religious" students who are slightly more likely to be dishonest about money probably think Paul said "the excessive love of money is the root of all evil."

Which is how it was taught to me, way back in Presbyterian Sunday School.  I also learned the "eye of the needle" that camel couldn't get through was a narrow gate into Jerusalem that a heavily loaded camel couldn't get through, so don't be so greedy, kid!*

I guess that means I'm prone to cheat in financial transactions, too.  Or maybe I would be, if I self-reported that "religion plays an important part" in my life.  In my experience, that phrase can cover anything form the life of a monk to a regular churchgoer who'd steal the pennies of a dead man's eyes, given the chance.

Takes all kinds, ya know.....

*Nope.  Jesus meant a sewing needle, though probably something far larger than we imagine today; still far too small for a camel to squeeze through.  Humor doesn't age well, or cross cultures all that readily.


  1. "So, again, of the virtue of truth. Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be; that cunning is the weapon which Heaven has given to the saints wherewith to withstand the brute male force of the wicked world which marries and is given in marriage. Whether his notion be doctrinally correct or not, it is at least historically so."

    From small beginnings.......

  2. Actually, I see a variant of

    "It may be that students for whom religion was important feel separate from other students at this largely secular university"

    quite frequently. Except in my circles, it's "all those dictates, which are more a matter of ethics than religious law, about ethical business and financial practices in the Talmud applly only in Jews doing business with other Jews: the goyim think we are cheating them anyway, so why bother being ethical toward them?"