Thoughts of Death Make Only the Religious More Devout


Thoughts of Death Make Only the Religious More Devout

Thinking aboutِ death makesِ Christians andِ Muslims, butِ not atheists, moreِ likelyِ to believeِ in God, newِ research finds, suggesting thatِ the oldِ saying aboutِ no atheists inِ foxholes doesn’tِ hold water.
The onlyِ catch isِ that they’reِ equally asِ likely toِ believeِ in Buddha orِ Allah asِ the Christian deity, evenِ though allِ the agnostics inِ the study wereِ  American andِ thus moreِ likelyِ to beِ exposed toِ Christian beliefs.
The findings confirm thatِ while religion canِ help people deal withِ death, weِ allِ manage ourِ own existential fears ofِ dying throughِ ourِ pre-existing worldview, theِ researchers report inِ anِ upcoming issue ofِ the journal Personality andِ Social Psychology Bulletin.

Religion and death

Plenty ofِ research hasِ shown thatِ religion, whichِ frequently promises anِ everlasting afterlife, helps people cope withِ theِ fact thatِ they willِ die someday.
One 2006 study foundِ that thoughts ofِ death increased belief inِ supernatural figures inِ general forِ religious people.
Each participant wasِ tasked withِ writing eitherِ a briefِ essay aboutِ how theyِ felt aboutِ their ownِ death orِ a religiously neutral topic, suchِ asِ loneliness orِ howِ to cope whenِ plans goِ awry.

Facing mortality

Unsurprisingly, whenِ Christians thought ofِ death, theyِ becameِ firmer inِ their beliefs thanِ those Christians whoِ hadn’tِ beenِ reminded ofِ their mortality.
Likewise, Muslims whoِ thought ofِ death becameِ more faithful toِ Allah andِ less accepting ofِ Buddha orِ the Christian God.
In otherِ words, theِ myth thatِ atheists turn toِ God onِ the battlefield orِ inِ other times ofِ peril didn’tِ hold up, Vail andِ his colleagues wrote.

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas or LiveScience @livescience.
We’re also on Facebook & Google+.