Study: Believers in God less likely to punish others for rulebreaking

Believing in an involved, morally active God makes people less likely to punish others for rule-breaking, new research finds.

However, the researchers also find that religious belief in general makes people more likely to punish wrongdoers – probably because such punishment is a way to strengthen the community as a whole. …

Punishment is good for the community as a deterrent to criminals, cheats and liars. And research suggests that a desire for punishment is ingrained, with babies as young as 8 months preferring to see a wrongdoer punished.