Intergroup tolerance leads to subjective morality, which in turn is associated with (but does not lead to) reduced religiosity
Although the effect of religious belief on morally relevant behavior is well demonstrated, the reverse influence is less known. In this research, we examined the influence of morality on religious belief. In the first study, we used two samples from Turkey and the United States, and specifically tested the hypothesis that intergroup tolerance predicts a shift in meta-ethical views toward subjective morality, which in turn predicts decreased religious belief. To examine the relationship between intergroup tolerance and religiosity via subjective morality, a structural equation model (SEM) was run. SEM results yielded good fit to the data for both samples. Intergroup tolerance positively predicted subjective morality, and in turn, morality negatively predicted religiosity. The bias-corrected bootstrap analysis confirmed the mediation, indicating that the association between intergroup tolerance and religious belief was mediated via subjective morality. In Study 2, we probed for the causal relationship, and the results showed that manipulating intergroup tolerance increases subjective morality, but does not influence religiosity. Therefore, we found only partial evidence for our proposed model that tolerance causally influences subjective morality, but not religiosity.