Saturday, June 20, 2009

Compassionate Respect for Beliefs Key to Peace

Compassionate Respect for Beliefs Key to Peace Miller-McCune Online Magazine: "
. . . new research conducted in both the U.S. and Iran suggests religious hard-liners can be softened — if one’s appeal is couched in the compassionate beliefs of their faiths.

In “Does Peace Have a Prayer?”, soon to be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Zachary Rothschild of the University of Kansas, Tom Pyszcznski of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Abdolhossein Adbollahi of Iran's Azad University — Zarand Branch address the essential paradox of fundamentalism, which Pyszcznski defines as “the disconnect between the peaceful teachings of virtually all major world religions and the attitude and violent actions of fundamentalists. . . .

Participants rated as strong fundamentalists “responded to the compassionate Biblical values with reduced support for violence, but did not respond this way to (the neutral quotes or to) the same compassionate values presented in secular form,” the researchers conclude. “It appears that it is the combination of a compassionate message with religious authority that leads fundamentalists to respond to existential threat with less-hostile attitudes toward out-groups or perceived enemies.”

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