Navigation Links
Psychological common ground could ease tensions among those with different religious beliefs
Date:1/7/2013

Understanding how thoughts of mortality influence individuals' beliefs sheds light on the commonalities among different groups' motivations and could help ease tensions between opposing viewpoints, according to University of Missouri experiments that tested the relationship between awareness of death and belief in a higher power. The study found that thoughts of death increased atheists, Christians, Muslims and agnostics conviction in their own world views. For example, contrary to the wartime aphorism that there are no atheists in foxholes, thoughts of death did not cause atheists to express belief in a deity.

"Our study suggests that atheists' and religious believers' world views have the same practical goal," said Kenneth Vail, lead author and doctoral student in psychological science in MU's College of Arts and Science. "Both groups seek a coherent world view to manage the fear of death and link themselves to a greater and immortal entity, such as a supreme being, scientific progress or a nation. If people were more aware of this psychological similarity, perhaps there might be more understanding and less conflict among groups with different beliefs."

His research suggests that morbid imagery, such as news headlines or caricatures of enemies in war propaganda, can reinforce nationalistic and/or religious ideals by keeping death on the mind and subconsciously encouraging denial of opposing ideologies. This research suggests that religious symbols and stories involving death, such as the crucifix, function psychologically to remind the faithful of mortality and subconsciously reinforce one particular world view to the exclusion of others.

For the study, Vail and his colleagues conducted a series of three experiments by first encouraging thoughts of death in study participants and analyzing their responses to a questionnaire. The first experiment examined Christians and atheists in the United States. The results suggested awareness of death in Christians increased their belief in God and denial of other traditions. Atheists also continued to adhere to their world views, although no increase in denial of other philosophies was observable because atheists by definition started with no belief in any religious traditions.

The second experiment, conducted in Iran, found that Muslims reacted similarly to Christians when they were thinking about their own mortality. A third trial observed agnostics and found that thoughts of death tended to increase their belief in a higher power. However, unlike Christians and Muslims, they did not increase their denial of Buddha, God, Jesus or Allah. Instead agnostics increased acceptance of all of those world views.

"In our study, individuals' minds appeared to rally around certain personal guiding concepts when faced with fear of death," said Vail. "Agnostics seemed to hedge their spiritual bets. They believed more firmly in a higher power. Yet at the same time, they expressed continued belief that the specific nature of that power was beyond human knowledge."


'/>"/>

Contact: Tim Wall
walltj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Psychological testing may predict success in soccer
2. Long-term neuropsychological impairment is common in acute lung injury survivors
3. Association for Psychological Science, SAGE launch Clinical Psychological Science
4. Understanding and promoting mental health - Insights from psychological science
5. Psychological Science explains uproar over prostate-cancer screenings
6. Bridges to Recovery Now Offers Intensive Psychological and Mental Treatment
7. Unmet needs: Adolescents and young adult cancer patients lack psychological, social support
8. DeLuca of Kessler Foundation receives research award from American Psychological Association
9. Wayne State University researcher recognized by American Psychological Association
10. A myth debunked: The full moon does not increase the incidence of psychological problems
11. Parents Key to Easing Psychological Impact of Conn. Shootings
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... According to an ... beginning to account for a significant portion of hernia repairs throughout the United States. ... Beverly Hills Hernia Center notes that this trend has not only been expected, but ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... ... CDRH Enforcement Trends: , Back to the Future , Feb. 25, 2016 — 11:00 a.m. ... “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” , An analysis of ... year. But that takes time. , Take a close look at the warning letters ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... 2016 , ... T.E.N., a technology and information security executive ... Awards 2016. Finalists and winners of the ISE® Awards for both Executive and ... Gala on March 15, 2016 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta. , ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... , ... AssureVest Insurance Group, a locally owned insurance firm with offices serving ... funds earmarked to purchase computers and software for Mrs. Harrison’s 2nd and 3rd grade ... a low-income area and has more than 60 2nd and 3rd graders with learning ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... San Ramon, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... tissue donation in northern California and Nevada, announced a partnership with San Ramon Regional ... be transferred to the hospital’s facilities as a way to accommodate a more certain ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... North Carolina , 12 februari 2016 ... Inc. (AAI/CML), een toonaangevende leverancier van productie ... en biotechnologische industrieën, kondigt vandaag een uitbreiding ... mogelijkheden op haar locatie in ... vraag heeft geleid tot meerdere recente investeringen. ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... 2016 --> ... Inflammation Global Clinical Trials Review, H2, 2015 provides ... clinical trials landscape along with top level data ... (G7 & E7), Trial Status, Trial Phase, Sponsor ... companies involved and enlists all trials (Trial title, ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016 Stem cells are primitive cells found ... and the capacity to differentiate into mature cell types ... the first mouse embryonic stem cells were derived from ... that the first culturing of embryonic stem cells from ... produced until 2006 As a result of these discoveries, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: