The effects of authoritarian and benevolent God primes on societal values and moral concerns.

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The theorized relationship between religion and morality is explained, in part, as a function of the moral values that govern religious communities. Most religious faiths posit a divine agent that is controlling and willing to punish moral transgressors, but also is compassionate and will forgive those who repent. The current study explored how different conceptualizations of God influence one’s sociomoral concerns. A total of 448 participants were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to complete an online survey that assessed the effects of priming an authoritarian and benevolent God on the moral foundations, and the mediating effects of perceived societal values. The God concept primes did not differentially influence endorsements of the moral foundations, but did influence perceived societal support, which was moderated by belief in God. The results provide evidence that sociomoral values are influenced in different ways depending on how people view God.

Religion. God concepts. Morality. Values.