ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2012) — New University of Otago research suggests that when non-religious people think about their own death they become more consciously skeptical about religion, but unconsciously grow more receptive to religious belief.

The Department of Psychology research also found that when religious people think about death, their religious beliefs appear to strengthen at both conscious and unconscious levels. The researchers believe the findings help explain why religion is such a durable feature of human society.

In three studies, which involved 265 university students in total, religious and nonreligious participants were randomly assigned to "death priming" and control groups. Priming involved asking participants to write about their own death or, in the control condition, about watching TV.

In the first study, researchers found that death-primed religious participants consciously reported greater belief in religious entities than similar participants who had not been death-primed. Non-religious participants who had been primed showed the opposite effect: they reported greater disbelief than their fellow non-religious participants in the control condition.

Study co-author Associate Professor Jamin Halberstadt says these results fit with the theory that fear of death prompts people to defend their own worldview, regardless of whether it is a religious or non-religious one.

"However, when we studied people's unconscious beliefs in the two later experiments, a different picture emerged. While death-priming made religious participants more certain about the reality of religious entities, non-religious participants showed less confidence in their disbelief," Associate Professor Halberstadt says.

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I got sucked into the whole god thing when I should have gone to a psychologist about my issues. I can't speak for everyone but I know that once I'm dead I'm not going to be worrying about anything, let alone death. Even if this life is just some matrix like computer program or some other weird stuff that nobody has thought of yet (I don't believe in it just for your info).

Death, to an atheist is purely a biological phemenon. A theist, thinking of the hell, may be afreaid of death: this can't happen to an atheist. The study is a fraud on atheism.

this can't happen to an atheist

Are you sure about that?  I can think of lots of non-religious reasons to be afraid of death.  I'm not really afraid, myself, but I can see lots of situations where one might be afraid to die.  In a fire, for example...

2 troo Central.  I've witnessed many agnostics converted to religion because of the combination of death anxiety (fear) and sudden adoption of wishful thinking (seeing loved ones again).

I've also known an atheist whose knowledge that cancer was going to take her life (death anxiety), combined with the feeling of need to look after her young daughter (adoption of delusional notions through hope), turned to religion as it gave her hope that she may be able to fill her desire.

So I also believe the article's conclusion is spot-on!

Aye M8!   :D

One atheist is not much to reach a conclusion is it ?

True, though the atheist in this case was more atheistic than I at one time.

There are varying degrees of atheism as even Richard Dawkins in a recent interview stated that he was not completely atheistic and holds reserve for the possibility of the existence of an omnipotent deity.

Also my studies into psychology and neurology have shown me how powerful these influences are on our brain chemistry and in the right circumstances, many people that call themselves atheist have indoctrinated childhood feelings and sensibilities that can be dragged into the foreground and gain dominance in such circumstances.  This is what happened in this case.

Though it may be one case, though I was very close to this one.

Other similar cases have been well known and documented, though I don't have as much detail about those other cases and thus cannot comment.

She had almost forgotten her years of indoctrination, but they came back in full force when the stresses of dying and need for protection of her family came into play.

If anything ever confirmed my acceptance with death, it was surviving a wreck that in all honesty should have killed me. No looking back for this one. I don't need a LARP to enjoy my life.

"However, when we studied people's unconscious beliefs in the two later experiments, a different picture emerged..."

Of course, you aren't dealing at all with the rational mind at this point, but the more emotional and reactive part. This should be no surprise.

You should listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about his own death.  He sounds almost excited about it.

 They didn't test this polyathiest!

J'ai peur du dentiste, mais je n'ai pas peur de la mort.

Moi non plus, je n'ai pas peur de la mort. Après tout nous sommes 'mort' du monde chaque nuit lorsque nous dormons------

mais

j'ai peur de mourir trop tôt. J'ai toujours beaucoup à faire dans ce monde dans les anneés qui me restent. 

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