October 14, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - It appears that Christians distinguish between loving the sinner and hating the sin according to the results of a study published in the latest issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. The researchers from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University found that people who scored high in religiousness do distinguish between same sex attraction and same sex behavior in the way they respond to others.
The study involved 100 female participants who were scored for interest in religion. The participants were led to believe that they were working with another participant as a two person team. The participants received hand written notes from their ostensible team partners with personal disclosures. Half the notes disclosed that the writer was homosexual, the other notes did not disclose sexual orientation. Half the notes disclosed that the writer was engaging in sexually promiscuous behavior outside of marriage. This created four cases: homosexual sexually active team member, homosexual celibate team member, heterosexual sexually active team member and heterosexual celibate team member. The participants were then given two minutes to perform tasks that could benefit the team member or a third student.
In general the participants helped the team member more than the unknown student. Participants did not help a gay team mate less than a heterosexual. The promiscuous were helped less than the celibate. The participants did not differentiate between a gay and a straight promiscuous team mate. Participants who scored high on religiousness helped the promiscuous person less.
The researchers concluded that the participants were able to distinguish between out group status (having same sex attractions) and value violation behavior (promiscuity).
The study is unique in that previous researchers studying the question failed to distinguish between out group status and value violation in studies that concluded that subjects who scored high in religiousness were prejudiced in their behavior toward gays. Previous studies failed to provide the straight promiscuous category for comparison.