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Does Religion Lead People to Inaction?

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of AtheismI only have time for a short blog entry again this week. I'm up to my eyeballs in work, so my lunchbreaks are getting cut a bit short.

Here's a question I've been pondering for a while. How many times have you heard a Christian, particularly of the evangelical variety, claim that it's not through works that we are saved, but through acceptance of Jesus? Can this attitude lead people to skimp on the works? Can Christianity lead people into inaction when it comes to charity?

Anyway, it's just a question. I think religion does influence people's actions, but I also think that people often adjust their interpretation of religion to match their existing ideology. So, if someone's of a charitable nature to begin with, they'll probably be charitable whether or not they're religious. And if they're of a selfish nature to begin with, they'll probably be more focused on the faith over works aspect of Christianity. I just worry that it could have a negative effect on some people, and skew them towards doing less.

On a related topic, here's an article on Jerry Coyne's website*, Why Evolution Is True, exploring the claim that religious individuals donate more than non-religious individuals. The entry is actually a guest post by Sigmund.

*because Coyne hates the term, 'blog'.

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