Monday, May 23, 2011

Of Sex and Religion

A new study reported on this week finds members of certain religious groups to be more guilty about sex than other groups.  And then I thought of the study a few months ago that rated the various religious groups on their knowledge of, yes, religion.  Can the two be correlated?  Let's see.

  1. Atheist/Agnostic
  2. Jewish
  3. Mormon
  4. White Evangelical Protestant
  5. White Catholic
  6. White Mainline Protestant
  7. Nothing in particular
  8. Black Protestant
  9. Hispanic Cathlic
Guilt about Sex (in order of most guilt)
  1. Mormon
  2. Jehovah's Witness
  3. Pentacostal
  4. Seventh Day Adventist
  5. Baptist
  6. Catholic
  7. Lutheran
  8. way at the bottom, atheist/agnostic
So the smartest about religion has the least guilt about sex.  Coincidence?  You have to wonder if sexual guilt gets in the way of learning.  Hey, it's a hypothesis.

What's missing?  Jewish folks on the sexual guilt study.  I can't find, at least in the news account of the study, any mention of them.

So how does our correlation hold up?  Not so good if we collapse a few categories and take a few statistical liberties with the data.  For example, Mormons are high on the guilt scale but also awfully high on the religious knowledge scale, thus screwing up any potential correlation.  Catholics kinda hold up the correlation, falling in the middle on both scales.  All in all, not much of a correlation between what you know about religion and the role religion plays in your sexual guilt.

Data once again getting in the way of some good theories.  Or at least silly fun.

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