Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 29

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE directional relationship.7 That is, prejudice tends to contribute to division between groups, and division between groups tends to contribute to prejudice. What begins as harmless homogeneity often snowballs into distrust, inaccurate perceptions of other groups, prejudice, and hostility. The primary reason why social psychologists believe this to be the case is that the simple process of forming a group creates a double-edged sword. On the one hand, group formation involves promoting a group identity and engaging in prosocial behavior toward others in the group. On the other hand, group formation involves distinguishing the group identity from other groups by excluding and even derogating other groups. For example, Christians are fairly successful at treating others in their specific church group well. However, they run into trouble when they are asked to treat Christians who are different from them well, particularly if those Christians violate one of their core values. Indeed, at the conclusion of their thorough survey of the American Christian landscape, Emerson and Smith hypothesized that “the processes that generate church growth, internal strength, and vitality in a religious marketplace also internally homogenize and externally divide people.”8 According to Emerson and Smith, strong 7. For example, see Deborah L. Hall, David C. Matz, and Wendy Wood, “Why Don’t We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-analytic Review of Religious Racism,” Personality and Social Psychology Review 14, no. 1 (2010): 126–139; Azim F. Shariff, “Religious Prosociality: How Gods Make Us Good” (paper presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Denver, October 2009); Ara Norenzay an and Azim F. Shariff, “The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality,” Science 322, no. 5898 (2008): 58–62; Isabelle Pichon, Giulio Boccato, and Vassillis Saroglou, “Nonconscious Influences of Religion on Prosociality: A Priming Study,” European Journal of Social Psychology 37, no. 5 (September/October 2007): 1032– 1045, doi:10.1002/ejsp.416; Jesse Lee Preston and Ryan S. Ritter, “God or Religion? Divergent Effects on Ingroup and Outgroup Altruism” (unpublished manuscript, 2009), as cited in Megan K. Johnson, Wade C. Rowatt, and Jordan LaBouff, “Priming Christian Religious Concepts Increases Racial Prejudice,” Social Psychological and Personality Science 1, no. 2 (April 2010): 119–126; Azim F. Shariff, and Ara Norenzayan, “God Is Watching You: Priming God Concepts Increases Prosocial Behavior in an Anonymous Economics Game,” Psychological Science 18, no. 9 (September 2007): 803–809, doi:10.1111/j.14679280.2007.01983.x; Brandon Randolph-Seng and Michael E. Nielsen, “Honesty: One Effect of Primed Religious Representation,” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 17, no. 4 (October 2007): 303–315; Thomas P. Carpenter and Margaret A. Marshall, “An Examination of Religious Priming and Intrinsic Religious Motivation in the Moral Hypocrisy Paradigm,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48, no. 2 (June 2009): 386–393. 8. Emerson and Smith, Divided by Faith, 142. 28