Skip to comments.Death Anxiety Increases Atheists' Unconscious Belief in God
Posted on 06/26/2012 9:06:43 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Well it should, indeed....
The thoughts of facing inevitable mortality, and losing the "worldview wager".....
....makes holding to atheism ONE HELL OF A BET!
To disparage God, curse His Son, and mock the Holy Spirit and despise the family of believers whom HE dearly loves...
...Then to face The Holy One at the Great White Throne...
... Thence to be separated out to the LEFT of the Son of Man...
To hear the words "Depart from me..."
IT SHOULD SCARE THE HELL OUT OF THEM!!
A LECTURE UPON THE SHADOW. by John Donne
STAND still, and I will read to thee A lecture, Love, in Love's philosophy. These three hours that we have spent, Walking here, two shadows went Along with us, which we ourselves produced. But, now the sun is just above our head, We do those shadows tread, And to brave clearness all things are reduced. So whilst our infant loves did grow, Disguises did, and shadows, flow From us and our cares ; but now 'tis not so. That love hath not attain'd the highest degree, Which is still diligent lest others see. Except our loves at this noon stay, We shall new shadows make the other way. As the first were made to blind Others, these which come behind Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes. If our loves faint, and westerwardly decline, To me thou, falsely, thine And I to thee mine actions shall disguise. The morning shadows wear away, But these grow longer all the day ; But O ! love's day is short, if love decay. Love is a growing, or full constant light, And his short minute, after noon, is night.
This exposes the fact that the underlying assumption of the study is that there is no life after death. So, they are trying to determine why people believe in something that is not true.
This excludes the option that the reason people believe in life after death, because it is true, and that the people that believe in an after life are the rational ones, while the atheists are the irrational people who are denying the evidence.
My favorite is from John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”:
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
I think this unconscious awareness infuriates them; they become more strident and inflexible. They think they're being manipulated by messages from the wider culture, and this makes them more determined to "fight back."
This is the basic problem with doublethink: over the long run it drives you nuts.
There are no atheists in foxholes.
Think about that last line being slightly changed to read ...
Like soul to aery thinness beat.
Then maybe it will scare some of them out of Hell.
Absolutely right - you hit the nail on the head. The clear assumption here is that religion is purely a psychological phenomenon with no basis in reality.
What? Consciously skeptical, but unconsciously receptive? How does one interview the "unconscious" to guage is receptivity?