Does morality have to come from god? What if religious people are susceptible to cruelty just as secular people are? The following study shows that people tend to obey authority figures even when the requests solicit immoral and cruel behavior. And in a series of requests which demand ever increasing immorality, people remain surprisingly obedient. Yes -- even when each subsequent request demands more and more cruelty, people still tend to comply.
People have a harder and harder time refusing subsequent requests once they have committed to the first request. And if the requests become gradually more demanding, people's tendency to continue to comply to cruel requests remain. And to make things even worse, people tend to trust and obey someone who appears to be an authority figure -- usually with little or no question.
If both religious and secular people are susceptible to these human faults, what does this imply about morality?
Read about the study: The Lucifer Effect
I also mention morality issues in these previous blog posts:
So, Now I can be an axe murderer, right?
A Little Perspective
Martin the Mean
On a side note, confidence schemes and cult leaders often use the tactic of gradually raising the steaks of their requests to their own advantage. Keep an eye out next time you run across some smooth talking scoundrel. Such people also like to paint themselves as authority figures, too. Victims don't question their predator's motives as often. Pushing victims outside of their comfort zone in small increments causes them to commit acts which they would hardly ever do under normal circumstances.