Cheating God? Students who believe in a forgiving deity more prone to academic dishonesty

The down side of grace?

Tell Your Students That if They Cheat, God Will Smite Them

by Don Troop in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The current debate on Hell might have academic implications. Who knew? (From 'Creation' by Michelangelo)

Is God:
A) punitive, angry, and vengeful?
B) warm, loving, and forgiving?

OK, folks, pencils down. Now, if you chose B, you probably cheated your way through college.

Two psychology researchers — Azim F. Shariff, at the University of Oregon,  and Ara Norenzayan, at the University of British Columbia — found in a pair of studies that students who believe that God is kind and gentle are more likely to cheat on tests.

In the first study, 61 undergraduates were asked to take a mathematics test on a computer that contained a software glitch. If they failed to press the space bar immediately after reading each problem, the glitch would cause the correct answer to appear on the screen and that just wouldn’t be fair. After taking the test, the students were asked about their perceptions of God.

Of course the sneaky researchers — believers in a benevolent God, no doubt — had peeked to see who had used the space bar and who hadn’t. While they found no differences between self-described believers and non-believers, the psychologists discovered that the students who think of God as angry and punitive were significantly less likely to have cheated…

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2 Replies to “Cheating God? Students who believe in a forgiving deity more prone to academic dishonesty”

  1. It was regretful that Bonhoeffer ever coined the term "cheap grace", because there is no such thing. Grace is what it is. It is free, (cheap is a pejorative synonym, but a still a valid one) and we are to use it to be reconciled to God. I mean, really, what are we saying here? If I willfully sin knowing that I can be forgiven (which most of us do) that I am not supposed to ask for God's grace because it would be cheap grace.
    Again, what are we implying? There are valid sins and non-valid sins to ask God’s grace for?
    (Gee God, I’d really like grace for this sin, but it is a sin that would require cheap grace, so I guess I’ll just skip forgiveness on this one).
    Sure there is a better way, but on my journey of sanctification I’ll take grace in any form I can access as long as its Gods grace.
    Maybe we need a philosopher to think this through.
    (Hint, hint)

  2. This article is propagating the typical legalism that always pushes the O.T. concept that unless we believe that God does not let anyone of the hook, and that he is out to get sinners, we will not want to become better people.
    The opposite view, that God is all forgiving and loving, and that a new nature based upon this is able to change us, is basically the offence of the cross. It is an offence to most because our brains are wired wrong due to sin. We simply refuse to believe that grace will accomplish what lightning bolts from heaven could not.
    Christ understood this propensity against a New Covenant based on love and forgiveness when he stated, ""And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough."
    You know what I am fearful of? Standing before God someday with a life change based upon the ethics rendered through Moses rather than the ethics from a new nature in Christ. Now that will bring about the wrath of God; that we pitched out the New Life in Christ for a couple of stone tablets and a glory that is fading away!

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