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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Religions seek to encourage prosocial behavior. But do religious admonitions to generosity and compassion translate into actual helping behavior? When religious individuals are moved to help, is it out of genuine compassion, or of a desire to appear religiously good? Is this compassion extended to all others, or only to members of certain acceptable groups? This chapter explores research looking at the relationship between prosocial behavior and religion. It first examines differences between studies utilizing self-report versus behavioral measures of helping. The chapter then presents research looking at the relationship between religious orientation and prosocial motivation, and it then moves to research on religion and helping of ingroups versus outgroups. It also reviews more recent research on religious priming and prosocial behavior. Finally, it broadens the definition of prosocial behavior and reviews new research on the relationship between religion and prosocial concepts such as forgiveness and gratitude.

Keywords: religion, religious orientation, prosocial, volunteerism, forgiveness, gratitude

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