The Role of Religious Context in Children’s Developing God Concepts
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This study investigated young children’s concepts of God. We interviewed 36 4- to 8- year-old children of different religious backgrounds to explore the influence of religious context on children’s developing God concepts. Children were asked about God’s physical, biological, and emotional properties, God’s supernatural abilities, God’s knowledge, and God’s emotions towards them. We found that (1) children who are more religious tend to attribute fewer anthropomorphic properties to God, (2) all children think supernatural phenomena cannot occur but are less sure about those phenomena which are recorded in the Bible, (3) religious children differentiate between God’s knowledge and human knowledge more than non-religious children, and (4) all children think God has more positive than negative emotions, but religious children think God has more emotions in general than nonreligious children. These findings highlight the impact that religious teachings can have on children, in addition to the importance of sampling a diverse population before drawing conclusions about children’s cognitive abilities
Senior honors thesis. Open Access.
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