Thinking about death makes Christians and Muslims, but not atheists, more likely to believe in God, new research finds, suggesting that the old saying about “no atheists in foxholes” doesn’t hold water.
Agnostics, however, do become more willing to believe in God when reminded of death. The only catch is that they’re equally as likely to believe in Buddha or Allah as the Christian deity, even though all the agnostics in the study were American and thus more likely to be exposed to Christian beliefs.
The findings confirm that while religion can help people deal with death, we all manage our own existential fears of dying through our pre-existing worldview, the researchers report in an upcoming issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Atheists, who reject religion, showed none of these responses to thoughts of death. In other words, the myth that atheists turn to God on the battlefield or in other times of peril didn’t hold up, Vail and his colleagues wrote. Along with other research, their study suggests that “atheists do not rely on religion when confronted with the awareness of death,” they said.
(Source: The Huffington Post)