Death Anxiety Increases Atheists’ Unconscious Belief in God

ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2012) — New University of Otago research suggests that when non-religious people think about their own death they become more consciously skeptical about religion, but unconsciously grow more receptive to religious belief.

The Department of Psychology research also found that when religious people think about death, their religious beliefs appear to strengthen at both conscious and unconscious levels. The researchers believe the findings help explain why religion is such a durable feature of human society.

In three studies, which involved 265 university students in total, religious and nonreligious participants were randomly assigned to “death priming” and control groups. Priming involved asking participants to write about their own death or, in the control condition, about watching TV.

In the first study, researchers found that death-primed religious participants consciously reported greater belief in religious entities than similar participants who had not been death-primed. Non-religious participants who had been primed showed the opposite effect: they reported greater disbelief than their fellow non-religious participants in the control condition.

Study co-author Associate Professor Jamin Halberstadt says these results fit with the theory that fear of death prompts people to defend their own worldview, regardless of whether it is a religious or non-religious one.

“However, when we studied people’s unconscious beliefs in the two later experiments, a different picture emerged. While death-priming made religious participants more certain about the reality of religious entities, non-religious participants showed less confidence in their disbelief,” Associate Professor Halberstadt says.

More

3 replies

  1. The findings of the study seem intuitive or self evident to me. These findings from the three experiments will be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

    Here, I want to link one of my articles on this issue, Man is in Constant Search for the Divine!

    One thing that often gets ignored in this discussion is that many a time atheism is a reaction against irrational dogma and contradictory theology of Christianity. Let us invite all agnostics and atheists to genuinely try Islam, before giving up on God. Our site Islam for the West, should be of some help! We pray to God for it!

  2. Interesting experiments that The Department of Psychology research found that when religious people think about death, their religious beliefs appear to strengthen at both conscious and unconscious levels. The researchers believe the findings help explain why religion is such a durable feature of human society. It shows that the believers of God are more firm in their belief as compare to disbelievers on their dis-belief
    Holly Qur’an says; Chapter 57-2
    (He is the kingdom of the heaven and the earth; He gives life and He causes death; and He has power to all things.)
    Holly Qur’an says; Chapter: 64-3
    (It is He Who has created you, but some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers, and Allah sees what you do.)
    Although the fear of Death is in the human nature but the Holly peoples over come this fear due to very close relation to their God. They have a satisfied soul and agreed with the will of God.
    At the time of death the Holly peoples find this message from god ( Oh :- Satisfied soul come , come to me, You are happy with me and I am happy with you.)
    Allah (The God) also relates sleep to death and gives example to believe to death and then life after death.
    One believer Urdu poet says:-
    Mout say mujh ko kun daratay ho.——
    Mott say main nahain derta
    Roz jita hun roz merta hun ——-
    Jab Neend ki wadun say guzarta hun
    (Do not afraid me of death, I don’t afraid from death, because I daily experience the death daily when I go to sleep and then wake-up.
    So for a confirm believer death and life after death is like a sound sleep and the wake-up.

  3. Regarding your meme…”can’t prove god doesn’t exist” and you can’t prove that I am not god…or that unicorns don’t exist…or harry potter…or aliens…the point is…you cannot prove a negative…as in…atheism is not more a religion than not beating your child is child abuse..or not playing golf is golfing…dolt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.