A new Study confirming: There are no atheists in the foxholes

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Study Asks If War Makes A Person More … Or Less … Religious

Source: NPR

By Diana Cole

What’s the link between war and religion? Does living through the traumas of conflict make people more religious – or turn them against religion?

Those age-old questions are probed in two studies.

“War Increases Religiosity” appears in Nature: Human Behavior. A team led by Joseph Henrich, chairman of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology of Harvard University, analyzed interview responses from 1,709 individuals in 71 villages in three countries that had suffered prolonged, brutal internal conflicts that did not revolve around religious or ethnic differences: Sierra Leone’s civil war, 1991-2002; the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Uganda, 1986-2006; and Tajikistan’s civil war and continuing political violence.

The data showed that people who had been more intensely affected by the violence of war were more likely to join or participate in religious groups and practice religious rituals. The data, collected in 2010 and 2011, came from previously published work by other researchers.

The more profound the impact of war on an individual — such as the death, injury or abduction of a household member — the greater the likelihood grew of that person turning to religion. By contrast, those who had been less affected by the impact of war were also less likely to join a a religious group. The statistical breakdown showed that for those in Sierra Leone, greater exposure to war made it 12% more likely individuals would turn to religion; 14% more for those in Uganda; and 41% more for Tajikstan.

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1 reply

  1. Religion provides a tightly organized group with leadership and direction. It is very useful coping mechanism in turbulent times. It provides a sense of physical security and psychological strength in precarious situations. The study confirms this. It also stresses two other findings. 1) Religious groups can be cause for prolonged war and conflict. 2) The leader of the religious group has to be a compassionate and co operative person for a good outcome. All common sense!!
    I wonder if non religious groups such as political ideologies provide the same outcome. We have examples of wars in Eastern Europe where people came together under political ideologies in times of war.
    May be the formula is more important than religion or politics!!

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