Religion and Oppression: Cross-National and Experimental Investigations

oppression. We examined, in two multinational samples taken from preexisting data, how national oppression – measured by an index of lack of liberty and by the number of refugees originating from the country – related to religiosity (e.g., belief in God, prayer frequency). We also examined how oppression related to authoritarianism and exclusivity, measures of conservatism often correlated with religiosity. Oppression’s relation to religiosity depended on what was controlled in the analysis: without additional controls, the relation was modestly positive; when controlling for human development and other demographic variables, the relation was modestly negative. In a separate student sample, participants at an ethnoculturally heterogeneous urban college who were primed with questions measuring religiosity were less supportive of oppression and militarization than if unprimed or primed with questions measuring authoritarianism. These findings offer preliminary evidence that religion and oppression are potentially in tension with each other.

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