As the debate continues over whether religion impacts moral behavior, a new study out of the U.K. is claiming that religious students do, indeed, act more morally than their atheist or unaffiliated counterparts.
Conducted by Birmingham's University's Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues in Birmingham, U.K., the study, titled, "Character Education in U.K. Schools," found a correlation between faith and character building in results that were gathered from analysis of 250 teachers and 10,200 students from 68 schools across the nation, according to Christian Today.
Religious respondents were more likely to score higher on tests involving moral dilemmas, with those who practice their faith scoring even higher. Additionally, students attending religious schools scored higher than those who attended non-religious schools.
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Researchers used the Ad-ICM (UK), a tool that measures students' moral judgement, according to the study.
"Students who said that they were religious achieved higher Ad-ICM (UK) scores (46%) than those who selected atheist or did not provide a religion (42%); the difference was statistically significant," the report read.
This disparity only increased when researchers dug deeper to go beyond nominal allegiance to religion.
"The difference increased when students were asked whether they practised their religion or not: those who said that they did scored 48% compared to those who did not (42%), or did not know/would rather not say (41%)," the report continues.
The data for the study, which the organization claims is "one of the most extensive studies of character education ever undertaken," was collected from moral dilemma tests, interviews and surveys, Christian Today reported.
The study's authors did cite caution is drawing definitive conclusions from the data, noting that the faith-based results could be more rooted in a communal impact based religious doctrine, rather than one based on individual choice surrounding specific scenarios.
Read the results here.
Past studies have come to some complex conclusions when it comes to moral differences between believers and atheists. Another recent study from researchers at the University of Florida found that stronger religious worldviews among teens correlate with less substance use.
(H/T: Christian Today)
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