December 2019 – In 2015, a scientific study broke headlines claiming children with religious backgrounds were less generous. Four years later, the nationwide study has been retracted because Dr. Tyler VanderWeele, a Harvard professor, exposed the alleged findings to be false.
“We apologize to the scientific community for any inconvenience caused,” said Jean Decety and coauthors of the study. They added that after reanalyzing the data, it was discovered that the “country of origin, rather than religious affiliation, is the primary predictor of several of the outcomes.”
“The effects of a religious upbringing seemed to contribute to greater generosity toward others many years later during young adulthood,” said VanderWeele. He said the data showed children raised in a religious household were more likely to volunteer, forgive quickly, and stay away from drugs and other dangerous behaviors.