"Are there atheists in foxholes? That timeless question (the literal answer to which is yes) is a shorthand way of asking whether, when confronted by their own mortality, even nonbelievers’ thoughts turn to God.
Research published earlier this year tentatively concluded that they do. But a new study, conducted by scholars from three countries, reports that death-related thoughts lead us to reaffirm whatever belief system gives our lives meaning—and for atheists, that’s something other than religious faith."
Pacific Standard, July 10, 2012