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
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…