Sunday, July 20, 2014

Scam Psychology: Are Religious People More Gullible? The Answer Will Surprise You

Mixing religion and scam is nothing new. Here are several older headlines:

SEC says "Social Capitalist" is really a Ponzi Scammer scamming churchgoers

SEC / prosecutors went after Puerto Rican Evangelical Ponzi

SoCal Korean Pastor stole millions from his flock, fled to Korea

Toronto Husband/Wife Pastors Operated Ponzi with money from flock

Which makes you wonder, are religious people more... gullible and thus, more vulnerable to scams?

The answer is very likely yes, according to a latest study on children.

Children praying at Delanco Camp
Children praying at Delanco Camp
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The study concluded that children who were brought up religious has a harder time tellin
g what stories are utter fantasy (i.e. not real, fictional) vs. what are real, according to a recent study.
The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.
The implications are staggering. This suggests that children who were exposed to religion early are less able to distinguish facts from fiction. When you extrapolate this, the children will likely have the same sort of problem growing up, and thus, when confronted with a situation where they do not have sufficient information to make a logical decision, they are more likely to believe that the fantastical incomes and such promised by a scam are actually POSSIBLE, instead of maintaining a skeptical mindset.

Thus, one can reliably say that there are evidence that suggest religion makes people MORE susceptible to scams.

Another point to make is all religions have specific punishments for scammers. Islam has the broadest prohibitions, with prohibitions on any games of chance, or even speculation, and much more. Christianity have Ten Commandments, many of which deal with envy, theft, and cheat.

But are they enough to deter the scammers? Apparently not enough.

If you are religious, you need to do EXTRA due diligence, and be skeptical to claims. That's how you compensate for your potential blindspot to the fantastical claims.

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