A study by Harvard professor Robert Putnam has found that religious people are better citizens, better neighbors and generally just nicer than the non-faithful.
The scholars say their studies found that religious people are three to four times more likely to be involved in their community. They are more apt than nonreligious Americans to work on community projects, belong to voluntary associations, attend public meetings, vote in local elections, attend protest demonstrations and political rallies, and donate time and money to causes — including secular ones.
At the same time, Putnam and Campbell say their data show that religious people are just “nicer”: they carry packages for people, don’t mind folks cutting ahead in line and give money to panhandlers.
The scholars say the link between religion and civic activism is causal, since they observed that people who hadn’t attended church became more engaged after they did. “These are huge effects,” Putnam said.
Since I consider myself a fairly religious person, this is a nice pat on the back. On the other hand: I went to a very religious high school, and the girls there–not nice. Just saying.