After exposure to such stimuli, researchers gauged participants’ religious beliefs through a series of questions. Subjects who had performed analytical tasks were more likely to experience a decrease in religious belief than those who were not involved in such tasks. That included devout believers.
“There’s much more instability to religious belief than we recognize,” said Norenzayan, noting that life’s circumstances and experiences, from traumatic events to joyous occasions, can lead people to become more or less religious.
“Religion is such an important part of the world and we have so little understanding of it,” he added. “So regardless of what you think about religion, it’s important to understand it because it’s so important in the world.”
Norenzayan is quick to mention that the experiments did not turn devout believers into total atheists. But he speculated that if people habitually think analytically, like scientists or lawyers do, it would lead to less religious belief in the long run. [x]
Being a member of both the LGBT and atheist communities, I’ve seen a lot of parallels between the two—especially in how it can be difficult to publicly self-identify as either when your family or friends disagree. Based on conversations I’ve had with other humanists and atheists as well as the results from this poll conducted here on TDH, this isn’t an unusual situation.
So tell me, followers—have you come out of the not-so-Godfearing closet?