In the study on empathy and political orientation, researchers from the University of Toronto, University of Calgary and the University of Texas, San Antonio, analyzed data from the 2004 General Social Survey.
They found that self-identified political conservatives scored lower on measures of empathy than self-identified political liberals.
But those differences disappeared as conservatives reported higher levels of belief in a loving, supportive God engaged in their lives, or prayed frequently or were regular worship attenders.
“These patterns suggest that religious institutions and the beliefs and practices they socialize might provide multiple pathways to bolster social‐psychological processes like empathy,” researchers said.
In the other study, researchers from Texas A&M and the University of Minnesota analyzed data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey to determine five basic conceptions Americans have of God, from the divine as a non-entity to a loving God concerned with human beings.
The largest group consisted of those who viewed God as a loving, nonjudgmental deity who is engaged with humanity. The next two largest groups were those who perceived God as a loving deity who is neither judgmental nor engaged with humanity and those who viewed God as loving, engaged and judgmental.
What did not gain much traction is the idea of God as punishing and judgmental.
“We find little evidence that respondents perceived God to be only an angry entity,” researchers reported. “Instead, much of the variation among the three classes that imply a robust God revolves around how God’s tendencies toward judgment and engagement with humanity intersect with love.”
Are evangelicals, even those who identify as politically conservative, that much different from everyone else?
New research calls into question the stereotypes of the cold-blooded religious conservative and the bleeding-heart liberal.
— theARDA.com (@ReligionData) April 23, 2019