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Author Topic:   Religious children have harder time between fact and fiction
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Message 61 of 63 (734094)
07-25-2014 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Tangle
07-22-2014 11:45 AM

This has me concerned (see bolded text):
The majority of children who said that they did attend services attended Christian services. We excluded the additional few children who said that they attended Jewish Temple (n = 6), because several of the stories used in the study are based on the New Testament (see Appendix A) and therefore would be likely to be less familiar to children who grew up in a Jewish family.

Wouldn't that bias the study and skew the results? Present stories from the New Testament that the church-goers were taught to believe are true and judge their ability to deal with fantasy from that? Instead, I would have expected new and novel stories to have been used.

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Message 62 of 63 (734686)
08-01-2014 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by dwise1
07-25-2014 1:51 PM

I would assume the use of Biblical stories in the study is only to determine the child's religiousness, and that the child's ability to distinguish fact/fiction is judged by presenting him with non-religious stories.

Do you think that's a bad assumption?

Love your enemies!

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Message 63 of 63 (734706)
08-01-2014 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by Jon
08-01-2014 10:54 AM

and that the child's ability to distinguish fact/fiction is judged by presenting him with non-religious stories.

Do you think that's a bad assumption?

Not a bad assumption because it would make a sensible study. But the study actually reached conclusions about protagonists in religious and non religious stories. I agree with dwise1 that the reason given for excluding Jewish children seems problematic and suggestive of an agenda.

From the abstract:

n. Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children's upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2). Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.

I've also seen some criticism from religious sources that the "fantastical" stories were just Biblical stories where the miraculous elements were described using fantasy terms


Fantastical Story

This is Samson. He was a very strong man, so when he was captured and tied to some pillars, he kept breaking the pillars and escaping. But one day, Samson’s long hair was cut and made him weak, so he used his magical powers to become strong once again.

Link to study.


The religious stories were adapted from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, in which an ordinarily impossible event was brought about via divine intervention. In the fantastical stories, the same Bible stories were modified to exclude any reference to divine intervention, so that the impossible event was effectively presented as magical rather than miraculous. Finally, in the realistic stories, the Bible stories were modified such that the improbable event was made plausible due to human intervention

I don't think any serious conclusion can be reached about gullibility of Christian children by the fact that they accepted the Samson story in both guises.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass

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