The egoistically motivated prosociality may also affect self-reports, resulting in biased results.
Peer ratings can be biased by stereotypes, and indications of a persons group affiliation are sufficient to bias reporting.
Other observers assert that moral behavior does not rely on religious tenets, and secular commentators point to ethical challenges within various religions that conflict with contemporary social norms.
Within the wide range of ethical traditions, religious traditions co-exist with secular value frameworks such as humanism, utilitarianism, and others. Modern monotheistic religions, such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity (and to a certain degree others such as Sikhism) define right and wrong by the laws and rules set forth by their respective gods and as interpreted by religious leaders within the respective faith.
Another global study by Gallup on people from 140 countries showed that highly religious people are more likely to help others in terms of donating money, volunteering, and helping strangers despite them having, on average, lower incomes than those who are less religious or nonreligious.
One study on pro-social sentiments showed that non-religious people were more inclined to show generosity in random acts of kindness, such as lending their possessions and offering a seat on a crowded bus or train. The overall relationship between faith and crime is unclear.In line with other findings suggesting that religious humanitarianism is largely directed at in-group members, greater religious identification, greater extrinsic religiosity and greater religious fundamentalism were associated with racial prejudice.This is congruent with the fact that 50% of religious congregations in the US are racially segregated, and only 12% have a degree of diversity.Richard Paula and Linda Elder of the Foundation for Critical Thinking assert that, "Most people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance with social conventions, religious beliefs, and the law." They separate the concept of ethics from these topics, stating: The proper role of ethical reasoning is to highlight acts of two kinds: those which enhance the well-being of others—that warrant our praise—and those that harm or diminish the well-being of others—and thus warrant our criticism.They further note that various documents, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights lay out "transcultural" and "trans-religious" ethical concepts and principles—such as slavery, genocide, torture, sexism, racism, murder, assault, fraud, deceit, and intimidation—which require no reliance on religion (or social convention) for us to understand they are "ethically wrong".In Christian traditions, certain acts are viewed in more absolute terms, such as abortion or divorce.In the latter case, a 2008 study by the Barna Group found that some denominations have a significantly higher divorce rate than those in non-religious demographic groups (atheists and agnostics).Membership of a religious group can accentuate biases in behavior toward in group versus out group members, which may explain the lower number of interracial friends and greater approval of torture among church members.Furthermore, some studies have shown that religious prosociality is primarily motivated by wanting to appear prosocial, which may be related to the desire to further ones religious group.Barbara Stoler Miller points out a further disparity between the morals of religious traditions, stating that in Hinduism, "practically, right and wrong are decided according to the categories of social rank, kinship, and stages of life.For modern Westerners, who have been raised on ideals of universality and egalitarianism, this relativity of values and obligations is the aspect of Hinduism most difficult to understand."For many religious people, morality and religion are the same or inseparable; for them either morality is part of religion or their religion is their morality.