Do social crises lead to religious revivals? Nah!

Back in 2010, I made a prediction: that the financial crisis of 2008 would lead to an uptick in religion. It seemed reasonable enough. After all, the study I quoted showed how, in the USA, religious beliefs and attendance acted as a buffer against the stress of poverty.And I wasn't flying out on a limb, either. According to the blurb for the British Sociological Association's 2014 meeting of the Sociology of Religion Study Group, "A long-standing assumption in the sociology of religion is … [Read more...]

Patheos Atheist LogoLike Epiphenom and Patheos Atheist on Facebook!

Make people uncertain then remind them about God, and they become more fearful of sin

There's plenty of research about suggesting that feeling uncertain can increase the strength of belief in god in different ways. But what's not clear is whether belief in god reduces the ill effects of uncertainty, or is a response to it. One theory is that a belief in God provides a kind of reassurance, which reduces anxiety.The research is by no means clear-cut, however. Some research has found the opposite (see: God prompts can scare us into trying to do the impossible). That's a sign … [Read more...]

Patheos Atheist LogoLike Epiphenom and Patheos Atheist on Facebook!

Religious authority increases the number of donations but decreases the value

In a run-down market place in Kabul, Afghanistan, groups of men hang around hoping that someone will offer them a job for the day. But today is different. Today they get an unusual offer.Somebody is willing to pay them a whole days wage (about $9) just to fill out a survey. Of course, many agree, and are taken by bus to the survey station. Once the survey is complete, they get handed their money in a blank envelope.Before they go, a guy comes in and makes an appeal to their charitable … [Read more...]

Patheos Atheist LogoLike Epiphenom and Patheos Atheist on Facebook!