Apparently, people who envision God as harsh and punitive may be less likely to cheat on tests. Those who view God as caring and forgiving are more likely to take a chance that the higher power will let a few copied answers on a math exam slide.
So go the findings, at least, of a new study conducted by administering a easily-cheated computerized math test and theology survey to readily available research guinea-pigs, i.e. college undergraduates. "What matters more than whether you believe in a god is what kind of god you believe in," explained researcher Azim F. Shariff in a public release.
A possible reason for this occurrence could, naturally, be fear of punishment. If one assumes that God will smite you for cheating, this belief acts as a sort of moral deterrence--halting any wandering eyes on an exam. On the other hand, if one can always seek forgiveness from a perceived loving God for a transgression like cheating, what's the incentive to ever stop?
Cue the long-running theological debate.
[h/t: Runnin' Scared]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.