Religious Anti-Gay Messages' Effect on Attitudes toward Sexual and Religious Groups
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Religious texts often act as moral guides for believers (Geyer & Baumeister, 2005). However, not all religious texts make the same moral proclamations, and people are often unaware of which texts (sometimes including their own!) support or oppose various moral positions, and whether these proclamations match their individual religious beliefs. In some cases, different parts of the same holy book may seem to contradict each other (Oth, Lindner, & Nosek, 2010). Furthermore, other factors also influence the moral beliefs of religious people: personal experience, church sermons, media, and other sources of information can all contribute to people’s moral beliefs. Because of the complex sources of people’s moral beliefs and the potentially contradictory nature of holy texts, religious people might sometimes see congruity and sometimes see conflict between their own beliefs and those of a particular holy book. When religious people learn or realize that passages from their own religion’s holy book contradict their beliefs, or that passages from an opposing religion’s holy book support their beliefs, they may feel conflicted; this conflict can lead to changes in attitudes and behavior aimed at resolving the conflict (e.g., Festinger, 1957). Conflicts between religious texts and beliefs, such as the Bible and feminism (e.g., Denova, 2008; Schlueter, 1997) or the Bible and homosexuality (e.g., Barton, 2010; Frontain, 1997), are commonly seen in case studies or qualitative studies. However, research using experimental manipulation and observation of this conflict, as well as the resultant changes in attitude, is uncommon.