"Many people assume that religious people are less anxious about death than the non-religious. After all, the most popular religions (Islam and Christianity) explicitly hold out the promise of eternal rewards for the faithful.
However, it's not quite that simple. After all, traditional versions of these gods are also pretty vengeful, and if you believe in a vengeful god, then you have to face the distinct possibility of some pretty nasty experiences after death. After all, even holy people usually have some guilty secrets.
The results for Malaysia were striking. There was a clear linear relationship between religiosity and fear of death. There was a similar relationship in Turkey, although less strong (they interviewed far fewer people in Turkey, however).
Even more striking were the results in the USA. Here, there was a curvilinear relationship - death anxiety was highest in those with average religious feelings.
The reason for these differences is probably down to differences in religious beliefs between Muslims and Christians. Muslims had the highest fear of death - the lowest fear of death was seen in the non-religious in America and Christians in Malaysia."
Epiphenom, Tom Rees, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
"Some research has suggested that religious people may have a buffer against major depression -- but new findings cast some doubt on that.See abstract of research here.
Researchers said people who develop depression might be more likely to stop going to services, which could explain why those who regularly go to religious services have lower rates of depression than the less-devout.
The new study found evidence of just that.
Among 2,100 Americans followed from birth to about middle-age, women who had developed depression early in life -- before age 18 -- were more likely than others to stop going to religious services by their early 20s.
Among men, there was no link between depression and churchgoing habits."
Reuters.com, Feb 28, 2012
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Here's the result of a new Gallup survey of American religiosity:
"Gallup classifies 40% of Americans nationwide as very religious -- based on their statement that religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Another 32% of Americans are nonreligious, based on their statement that religion is not an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 28% of Americans are moderately religious, because they say religion is important but that they do not attend services regularly or because they say religion is not important but still attend services.
Mississippi is the most religious U.S. state, and is one of eight states where Gallup classifies at least half of the residents as "very religious." At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont and New Hampshire are the least religious states, and are two of the five states -- along with Maine, Massachusetts, and Alaska -- where less than 30% of all residents are very religious. See full list here
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Daily tracking survey Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2011, with a random sample of 353,492 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia."
Gallup.com, March 27, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
"New research shows how believers tailor Christian teachings to fit their own political viewpointThis just goes to show that socalled religious morals are no more founded in absolute truths than secular morals. Religious people fool themselves into thinking that they act upon what their religion objetively tells them. But in reality, they first compile a set of religious morals they're satisfied with and then goes on to act (more or less) accordingly:
A study led by Lee Ross of Stanford University in California has found that the Jesus of liberal Christians is very different from the one envisaged by conservatives. The researchers asked respondents to imagine what Jesus would have thought about contemporary issues such as taxation, immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion. Perhaps not surprisingly, Christian Republicans imagined a Jesus who tended to be against wealth redistribution, illegal immigrants, abortion and same-sex marriage; whereas the Jesus of Democrat-voting Christians would have had far more liberal opinions. The Bible may claim that God created man in his own image, but the study suggests man creates God in his own image."
Johnjoe McFadden, Guardian.co.uk, 4 March 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
"The march of secularism means Britain may no longer be a Christian country in just 20 years, a report said yesterday.
If trends continue, the number of non-believers is set to overtake the number of Christians by 2030."
Daily Mail, 3rd March 2012