Science is finally catching up to the Bible when it comes to the reality that "religion" does not make people more "righteous," says BELIEFNET, citing a study recently referenced the the HUFFINGTON POST:
Sure-to-be-controversial new research shows that religious and non-religious people are equally likely to misbehave. The only difference between the groups is that religious people show stronger emotional reactions to moral and immoral deeds. …
For the study, a team of researchers, led by psychologist Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Hofmannof the University of Cologne in Cologne, Germany, recruited 1,252 men and women between the ages of 18 and 68. The study participants, all of whom were from the U.S. or Canada, completed an initial survey to indicate their level of religiosity -- from "not at all" to "very much." The survey also showed where the men and women fell on the political spectrum, from "very liberal" to "very conservative."
The subjects then received surveys via text message several times a day over the course of several days asking them to report on their behavior, both good and bad, among other things.
What did the researchers find? Religious and non-religious people alike reported experiencing around the same number of moral acts. Furthermore, no difference was found between liberals and conservatives. People reported committing good deeds more often than bad ones, and reported hearing about bad deeds more often than good ones.
Ultimately, their conclusion was that religion did not play a significant role in the behavioral habits of the participants.
The flaws in this kind of thinking are myriad. For starters, religious vs. non-religious persons will certainly define good and bad deeds and behavior quite differently. While the religious might report the use of foul language or feelings of lust, etc. as bad behavior, the non-religious might think nothing of it all.
But for all the flaws, the bottom-line conclusion is both true and biblical: Good behavior is not what makes a person righteous! It is relationship, NOT behavior, which defines moral justification--relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ.
As so aptly summarized on BELIEFNET:
Science is just now catching up with timeless truths revealed in the Bible, which illustrate that human nature is inherently flawed. It is only after we trade our nature with the infallible nature of God that we have the ability to experience true righteousness. … Religion can exist on the surface, it can masquerade at church functions, pray lofty pious prayers in public, but only relationship demonstrates the sincere walk of a person truly following God.
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).