Morality and Religion
I was reading this article and it is something I've felt a lot of my life. Long before I left religion.
The vast majority of religious people I've met are simply not even very 'moral' people.
Why are religious people less moral? One factor is a psychological phenomenon known as 'moral licensing': a person will justify doing something bad or immoral – like being racist – because they've already done something 'good', such as praying. "It's an unconscious bias," Decety explains. "They don't even see that's not compatible with what they've been learning in church."
I was born in South Africa and I have a lot that fire in me in terms of justice. It stayed with me throughout my life. Here's the strange thing. A lot of Muslims for example latch onto the phrase 'social justice'. I suppose due to history or colonialism, they like to attach themselves to this struggle. Ask a SJW Muslim about the oppression of blacks in the United States, and they can go. Did you know White people weren't even allowed to marry Blacks! A popular movie this year was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_(2016_film) which details the struggle of a white man marrying a black woman.
Yep, now ponder this with a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man. Yeah, you're going to find about the same segregationist attitudes alive and well in the Muslim community.
It doesn't even need to go to this extreme. Even for minor things like lying, which most Muslims are taught is wrong, they will still justify their moral license to lie based on hiding sins, family matters...
They will actually think they are doing good by obeying religious or cultural norms instead of looking at the harm.
Another key factor I think comes from understanding right from wrong. Without religion, you tend to base your morality on something. Maybe it is the harm you cause people. Therefore, before you take an action, you will look at what harm it can cause people and then understand the morality of your choice.
Religion tends to favor more direct action rather than thinking about the morality. As a result, you can harm people greatly without much intention simply because you think you are doing 'right' by your religion.
I think it even extends to more character traits like selfishness. Charity is heavily emphasized in many religions, especially Islam. Yet, I think you begin to see the same 'moral license' being talked about. I can be an immoral person in this or that way because I give to charity. I can be selfish in this or that way because I give to charity.
Is it Universal?
On the flip side, I question the universality of this statement that religious people are less moral. I definitely ponder the possibility that at this stage in history, those who are prone to question morality are veering in the secular domain. So this group of people seeking morality would be more secular, whereas those not actively seeking morality would remain traditionally religious. This situation could have been reversed in the past or perhaps even in the future; though I think it less likely in the future.