Anthropologists appreciated the benefits of religious behavior

Anthropologists appreciated the benefits of religious behavior

The position of man in traditional communities largely depends on the degree of religiosity — the more actively a person takes part in the common religious practices, the higher his social status, and this pattern in turn affects the formation of social relations within the community.

To such conclusion the anthropologist Eleanor Power (Eleanor A. Power) from the Santa Fe Institute, studying the traditional community in India. The results of a study published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

Approximately 80 percent of people around the world call themselves religious. The impact of this factor on the social life is undeniable, but yet not fully elucidated. Even within the same study, researchers can not always come to consistent conclusions.

Today proved just that people on average tend to distinguish between those who differ in religious behavior, they are usually considered more generous and honest than others.

Getting to his study, Eleanor Power suggested that this stereotype reinforces the influence of religious people in traditional societies, as well as increases to show him confidence. To test this hypothesis, it is within two years of directly observing public behavior of adult residents of the two villages, Tapani and Ashokapuram, in the South of India, among whom were the adherents of the two religions — Hinduism and Christianity. Anthropologist focused on manifestations of religiosity of the inhabitants of the villages and the episodes seeking help or advice.

Power shared religious practices which she had observed into three types: regular events (visit to the temple, the rejection of conflict, the fasts and vows of the time); occasional, but traditional public acts (a major sacrifice, costly pilgrimage); extreme acts of (self-torture, the manifestation of religious obsession). Also, the scientist have identified five degrees of support, which the inhabitants of the Indian villages had each other: a surety for another member of the community, business acquaintances, and financial aid, direct support (borrowing items, caring for other people’s children), emotional support.

Comparing how members of the community participate in religious practices and how often they ask for help or providing it, Power came to the conclusion that public worship guaranteed the highest degree of confidence among the villagers.

So, people of the same sex, social status and close position who consistently demonstrate their religiosity, on average, 1.3 times more likely to ask for support than those whose religion was not expressed. It was found that the positive effect on the social status of the believer affect only a manifestation of the traditional types of religion. So, people who have committed during the year, two difficult and costly religious rituals, increasing their chances of social trust in 1.2 times, and those who practiced extreme religious rites, on the contrary, reduced their chances of social trust — the new value of the corresponding index amounted to 0.9 of the original.

According to the forecast anthropologist, observed it in the villages, any adult women who regularly attend Church, another woman of the same caste are asked about support in 4.1 cases out of a hundred. The number of appeals will increase to 4.6 if the first woman is, in addition, makes one difficult and expensive to hold public religious act in the course of the year. If she becomes obsessed with the number of accesses will be reduced to 3.5 cases out of a hundred.

According to Power, the results indicate that religiosity in a traditional society is perceived as a signal of reliability, generosity and sociability, encouraging villagers to establish with these people sustained as a rule of mutual respect.

Although some correlation between religiosity and social practices observed in post-industrial societies, while the researchers refrain from making broad generalizations. Recently, an international team of scientists conducted an experiment to assess the degree of altruism 1170 children from Chicago, Toronto, Cape town, Istanbul, Izmir and Amman. The results showed that children from non-religious families were more generous than others. Fixing the correlation, the researchers refrained from describing causal relationships.

Elizaveta Vlasova