Faith still shapes morals and values even after people are ‘done’ with religion


For many, leaving religion does not mean leaving behind religious morals and values. Jesus Gonzalez/Moment via Getty

Philip Schwadel, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Sam Hardy, Brigham Young University

Religion forms a moral foundation for billions of people throughout the world.

In a 2019 survey, 44% of Americans – along with 45% of people across 34 nations – said that belief in God is necessary “to be moral and have good values.” So what happens to a person’s morality and values when they lose faith?

Religion influences morals and values through multiple pathways. It shapes the way people think about and respond to the world, fosters habits such as church attendance and prayer, and provides a web of social connections.

As researchers who study the psychology and sociology of religion, we expected that these psychological effects can linger even after observant people leave religion, a group we refer to as “religious dones.” So together with our co-authors Daryl R. Van Tongeren and C. Nathan DeWall, we sought to test this “religion residue effect” among Americans. Our research addressed the question: Do religious dones maintain some of the morals and values of religious Americans?

In other words, just because some people leave religion, does religion fully leave them?

Measuring the religious residue effect

Recent research demonstrates that religious dones around the world fall between the never religious and the currently religious in terms of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Many maintain some of the attributes of religious people, such as volunteering and charitable giving, even after they leave regular faith practices behind. So in our first project, we examined the association between leaving religion and the five moral foundations commonly examined by psychologists: care/harm, fairness/cheating, ingroup loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and purity/degradation.

We found that religious respondents were the most likely to support each of the five moral foundations. These involve intuitive judgments focusing on feeling the pain of others, and tapping into virtues such as kindness and compassion. For instance, religious Americans are relatively likely to oppose acts they deem “disgusting,” which is a component of the purity/degradation scale. This aligns with previous research on religion and moral foundations.

Most importantly, and in line with the religion residue hypothesis, we have found what we call a “stairstep pattern” of beliefs. The consistently religious are more likely than the dones to endorse each moral foundation, and the religious dones are more likely to endorse them than the consistently nonreligious. The one exception was the moral foundation of fairness/cheating, which the dones and the consistently religious supported at similar rates.

Put another way, after leaving religion, religious dones maintain some emphasis on each of the five moral foundations, though less so than the consistently religious, which is why we refer to this as a stairstep pattern.

Our second project built on research showing that religion is inextricably linked with values, particularly Schwartz’s Circle of Values, the predominant model of universal values used by Western psychologists. Values are the core organizing principles in people’s lives, and religion is positively associated with the values of security, conformity, tradition and benevolence. These are “social focus values”: beliefs that address a generally understood need for coordinated social action.

For this project, we asked a single group of study participants the same questions as they grew older over a period of 10 to 11 years. The participants were adolescents in the first wave of the survey, and in their mid-to-late 20s in the final wave.

Our findings revealed another stairstep pattern: The consistently religious among these young adults were significantly more likely than religious dones to support the social focus values of security, conformity and tradition; and religious dones were significantly more likely to support them than the consistently nonreligious. While a similar pattern emerged with the benevolence value, the difference between the religious dones and the consistently nonreligious was not statistically significant.

Together, these projects show that the religion residue effect is real. The morals and values of religious dones are more similar to those of religious Americans than they are to the morals and values of other nonreligious Americans.

Our follow-up analyses add some nuance to that key finding. For instance, the enduring impact of religious observance on values appears to be strongest among former evangelical Protestants. Among dones who left mainline Protestantism, Catholicism and other religious traditions, the religion residue effect is smaller and less consistent.

Our research also suggests that the religious residue effect can decay. The more time that passes after people leave religion, the more their morals and values come to resemble those of people who have never been religious. This is an important finding, because a large and growing number of Americans are leaving organized religion, and there is still much to be learned about the psychological and social consequences of this decline in religion.

The growing numbers of nonreligious

As recently as 1990, only 7% of Americans reported having no religion. Thirty years later, in 2020, the percentage claiming to be nonreligious had quadrupled, with almost 3 in 10 Americans having no religion. There are now more nonreligious Americans than affiliates of any one single religious tradition, including the two largest: Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism.

This shift in religious practice may fundamentally change Americans’ perceptions of themselves, as well as their views of others. One thing that seems clear, though, is that those who leave religion are not the same as those who have never been religious. Given the rapid and continued growth in the number of nonreligious Americans, we expect that this distinction will become increasingly important to understanding the morals and values of the American people.

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Philip Schwadel, Professor of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Sam Hardy, Professor of Psychology, Brigham Young University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

What is Prosperity and what does the Bible say about it?


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What is Prosperity and what does the Bible say about it?

Job 36:11 (KJV)  “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.”

If we obey and serve God he shall grant us prosperity  through our life.  So we are told through obedience and Servitude is the path to prosperity. We are also told that God is pleased to see his servants in prosperity in Psalms

Psalms 35:27 (KJV) “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”

Thus we can conclude that God wants us to live in Happiness and Prosperity. But then what is prosperity in the bible, is it riches, jewels or is it simply being at a point in life where one needs for nothing such as food a home and health?

If you recall in the bible the rich were not celebrated, So I say that the prosperity God grants is more based on the needs of one to survive and live happily not that of wealth, power or possessions. Servants of God be that they be preacher,teacher,messenger or just a follower. should spread the message of the prosperity of God not of the prosperity of the wicked and foolish world.

Mathew 6: 19-20

19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Which Roughly means do not put faith in things that are of this world, they are temporary. Put faith in God and the things of his kingdom for they are forever..

Ray Barbier

Forget about the unchangeable past and live in the now


DSC_0323bRegret, the enemy of happiness and being at peace with one’s self. Regret of the things undone, unsaid and missed out on through ones life are nothing but obstructions in one’s path to happiness. Regret that last longer than a short moment is but the lack of the ability to forgive yourself for your mistakes and/or shortcomings. If you can’t undo or make up for the wrongs you’ve done or if the opportunities you’ve missed are far gone then why waste any time or energy on them. Far as the wrongs you can bring to right and the opportunities you still can utilize they should be your main focus to accomplish. Forgive yourself, forget about the unchangeable past and live in the now, do not make more situations to regret by hanging on to the dead weight of things that are beyond you ability to control or change.

Free yourself of living in the past so you can make the most of the present, free your heart of the burdens of past mistakes to make room for the happiness, love and serenity that you deserve.

Ray Barbier

The differences we have divide us only because we allow them to.


017Why cant the many religions of the world come to peace with one another? Why must we have hatred for those who either believe different or don’t have a belief? I never could understand how one person could hate another because of their religious beliefs, race or even nation origin. We are all human after all, we all are brought into this world in the same manner and we all leave it in the same state. We all want happiness for ourselves and those we love and we all have the same basic needs to survive. The differences we have divide us only because we allow them to. Our diversity as a species is what has since the dawn of humankind made us a resilient and thriving species. It gave us the ability to survive many climate changes and challenges.

I have had many friends of different religious beliefs and never judged them one way or another because of their beliefs. If I did judge them it was by how they treated me and others around them. We had many disagreements on religious ideals but we didn’t allow them to become a stumbling block in our friendship. Sad thing is even within a religion there can be division in belief and that sometimes even leads to violence within it. Is it the religion that causes this violence and division or is it caused by the darkness within some of those within the religion.

Either way, I will always be one who believes in every persons right to believe as they wish and I will respect what ever choice they make. I also will not turn away anyone as a friend nor anyone in need because of their beliefs.

I know how I believe and how I chose to be may not be popular and may be looked down on by some in my religion and in others as well, but It is how my heart tells me to be and that’s what I choose.

Ray Barbier

The Battles Ahead will be won


eyeI face many battles ahead of me in this short life God has blessed me with. Some are battles forced upon me by the world I live in, others are battles of my own making through the choices made in my life. Some are battles within the heart others are battles with and within the mind. None of the battles will be easily won, but they will be won through faith and with love.

No other person can fight these battles for me, but I will not stand alone in these battles I face. He is always with me and he that is within me is greater than any enemy I shall face ahead.

I once walked in fear, I once lived in doubt and now I choose to walk in faith and to live in love.

God Bless you all

Ray Barbier.

Thoughts on 2/23/2013


God, the Father watches us all everywhere.

Stop trying to rely on your own strength , learn to rely on that inner strength God provides you. It is a strength beyond the physical and mental strengths we cultivate and acquire through life. Remember where all your strengths come from, for they all originate from God. And be thankful for what you have as well as what you have had as well.

Ray Barbier

we should love one another as Jesus commanded us to do


dd43853So easy it is to open your eyes and see the needs of others, so simple is it to open your heart and give to those who need. It isn’t all about money, it’s about friendship, fellowship, kindness and compassion. Even a smile or a kind word can change the hearts and minds of those around you. A little compassion can go a long way in helping someone get through the day. Just give what you have to give to help others and it will multiply within the person you help.

Try to remember the person you seeing in need, be it a need of food, clothes or just a kind word or two could easily be you. So try to treat others with that fact in mind, they too are only human and have problems, challenges and circumstances just like you do. They are your brothers and sisters in the eyes of God, we should love one another as Jesus commanded us to do.

God Bless

Ray Barbier

Time to open you eyes, time to let go of what was


003Time to open you eyes, time to let go of what was and the things that shall never be. Most of what you want you don’t really need and probably would just bring you unhappiness in the end or just a short moment of joy that is hollow. Time to be appreciative of the things God has blessed you with, He has given you things that money, gold or Jewels could never get you. Love, Peace, Hope and last but not least his grace. He gave you a family, friends and another day for you to cherish them as well.

Time to put the fear away for faith is stronger and time to put away greed it only leads to the ruin of your life. Lust is just an perversion of love and is what has caused so many divorces, broken hearts and even some wars along the way. Selfishness is a true enemy of happiness and it stands between us and god.

 Temper your heart with the love of God, Tame your mind with the Gospel and put all of your heart, mind, body and soul into walking in faith. Do everything you do for God and not for your self.

Ray Barbier

Yelling at an oncoming storm


012Last night I had an interesting dream, I was standing before what seemed to be the front door of a house I lived in years ago. I noticed the wind from a storm brewing outside had opened the screen door so I went to go close it and looked at the approaching storm and said to it “I am a follower of Christ, I live in Christ, I rest in Christ, I fight on the side of Christ. Before I said these things the door was being difficult to shut but afterwards it shut easily and then the dream ended. Just one of those interesting dreams that you want to share and remember because how odd it seemed. Yelling at an oncoming storm and confirming my Christianity to it as if to let it know I was ready to face the storm.

Well I know it’s not an interesting article but it was one of those things I got a feeling to write about.

God Bless

Ray Barbier

The power of prayer with true faith is a powerful thing


026Prayer, Faith and their power to heal the body, mind and soul is questioned by science everyday. Yet they try to dismiss, debunk and deny the miracles that God blesses many with the miracle healings still occur. I have witnessed a few healings in my life from a tumor disappearing, clogged arteries clearing and no damage or sign of a heart attack after someone had one. I have also seen cancer being stopped as well. One could argue misdiagnosis but in most of the cases the illnesses were diagnosed by several doctors and was known of for many years. The power of prayer with true faith is a powerful thing and regardless of the skepticism of scientists and those who are non believers we must continue to keep faith and pray for the sick and those in need.

Faith and prayer go together, one without the other is almost useless.

Ray Barbier