Saturday, November 28, 2009
Religion and trust
In What's So Great about Christianity?, Dinesh D'souza claims that religion makes people more trusting. Trust is an important ingredient in a well-functioning society. There's has been a lot of discussion in the Steveosphere about how diversity undermines trust in your neighbors, even among members of the same ethnic group.
The General Social Survey offers little evidence for D'souza's contention. In the top graph, you do get a little bump among people who attend church nearly every week or more frequently, but the lower graph on belief in a deity shows that those who know God exists are the least trusting category.
I'll have to look at it, but I doubt there is a positive cross-national correlation between religiosity and trust.
UPDATE: According to this study of 105 countries, religiosity is negatively correlated with trust.