Death and Religion

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Death and Religion

Postby KEND on Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:36 am

I have long been of the opinion that religion is about death, interesting study comparing believers and non believers
STUDY INTO WHO IS LEAST AFRAID OF DEATH
A new study examines all robust, available data on how fearful we are of what happens once we shuffle off this mortal coil. They find that atheists are among those least afraid of dying...and, perhaps not surprisingly, the very religious.
Religion has long been thought to be a solution to the problem of death. Notions of an afterlife are nearly universal, though there is great diversity in the details. Given this close association between religion and death, researchers have long supposed that religion lessens fear about death. It stands to reason that religious believers should be less fearful of death than nonreligious individuals, or does it? A systematic review of high quality international studies led by researchers at the University of Oxford paints a more complicated picture. It shows that the very religious and atheists are the groups who do not fear death as much as much as those in-between in a paper published in the journal, Religion, Brain and Behavior.
'Meta-analyses are statistical procedures used to extract and combine the findings of multiple studies. This produces a better estimate of the consensus in a field than looking at individual studies,' explains Dr Jonathan Jong, a Research Associate at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology and Research Fellow at Coventry University. Jong led a team of researchers from Oxford, Coventry, Royal Holloway, Gordon College, Melbourne University and Otago University to search systematically for research on the relationship between death anxiety and religious belief.
Religious people are less afraid of death than nonreligious people. It may well be that atheism also provides comfort from death
Dr Jonathan Jong, Research Associate of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology
The team found 100 relevant articles, published between 1961 and 2014, containing information about 26,000 people worldwide. Combining this data, they found that higher levels of religiosity were weakly linked with lower levels of death anxiety. The effects were similar whether they looked at religious beliefs such as belief in God, and an afterlife, or religious behaviour like going to church, and praying.
Some studies also distinguished between intrinsic religiosity and extrinsic religiosity. Extrinsic religiosity is when religious behaviour is motivated by pragmatic considerations such as the social or emotional benefits of following a religion, whereas intrinsic religiosity refers to religious behaviour driven by 'true belief'. The meta-analysis showed that while people who were intrinsically religious enjoyed lower levels of death anxiety, those who were extrinsically religious revealed higher levels of death anxiety.
The findings were mixed across the studies, with only 30% of the effects showing this finding. Surprisingly, perhaps, 18% of the studies found that religious people were more afraid of death than non-religious people; and over half the research showed no link at all between the fear of death and religiosity. This mixed picture shows that the relationship between religiosity and death anxiety may not be fixed, but may differ from context to context. Most of the studies were conducted in the United States, with a small number carried out in the Middle East and East Asia. This makes it difficult to estimate how the pattern varies from culture to culture, or religion to religion, says the paper.
Based on previous research, the team also checked for curvilinear patterns in the data. Rather than assuming that the religiosity is either positively or negatively related to death anxiety, some researchers have posited that the relationship is like an upside-down U shape, with religious believers and disbelievers showing less death anxiety than people in between. Out of the 100 studies, the team only found 11 studies that were robust enough to test this idea; however, of these, almost all (10) formed this pattern.
Dr Jong commented: 'It may be that other researchers would have found this inverse-U pattern too if they had looked for it. This definitely complicates the old view, that religious people are less afraid of death than nonreligious people. It may well be that atheism also provides comfort from death, or that people who are just not afraid of death aren’t compelled to seek religion.'
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Dmitri on Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:24 pm

Atheism makes you think about death as a natural inescapable occurrence with a very definitive, objectively observed and confirmed over and over again, ending. There simply is no variation there -- it will happen, to everyone, regardless of what they do or think or believe. Worrying about something like that is as silly as worrying about one's hair turning gray (although of course people manage to worry anyway... :))

With religion, unless one is a true fanatic, there's always an underlying doubt, an inherent conflict with observable reality and the overwhelming objective evidence (pointing to what atheists/materialists "believe").

Conflict -> uncertainty -> anxiety.

No conflict -> confidence -> happiness.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Michael on Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:22 pm

Dostoevsky was lucky, he got the fear put into perspective for him by the Czar.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Bao on Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:02 am

Dmitri wrote:With religion, unless one is a true fanatic, there's always an underlying doubt, an inherent conflict with observable reality and the overwhelming objective evidence (pointing to what atheists/materialists "believe").

Conflict -> uncertainty -> anxiety.
No conflict -> confidence -> happiness.


The conflict is a modern problem. For a couple of hundred of years there was no uncertainty, everyone believed in God. They were confident and religion meant comfort and consolation. In tough times, religion made people happy and helped them to stand all of the problems they faced every day. I don’t believe that religion is a problem if it makes people happy and if it is kept as something personal.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Dmitri on Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:24 am

Bao wrote: For a couple of hundred of years there was no uncertainty, everyone believed in God.

Everyone? Got a source?

Also, humans, if you count the "early" ones, have been around for a couple of hundreds of thousands of years... So to which blissful 200-year window from that period are you referring to? :)

I don’t believe that religion is a problem if it makes people happy and if it is kept as something personal.

Agreed 100%
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby wiesiek on Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:26 am

:)ha!
but
only problem is,that it is very rare / kept as something personal./
What is even worse - it /religion/ is used for quite different purposes in our world.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Steve James on Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:48 am

Religion serves many purposes. It's as universal as the human curiosity and fear concerning the end of life. The particular form a religion takes is a function of the society in which it emerges. All gods will represent forces outside of human control --at the time. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, lightning, the sun, and everything from day to night can be believed to be the product of beings or actually be beings. Every human society has had answers to these questions. Atheism emerged when better answers were found. Nope, it's not Mars who provokes wars or Cupid who makes us fall in love.

Religion as explanation doesn't imply that it makes a human happier or more content. The saying is "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." OK, that's not exactly true. However, atheists, ime, are no more eager or nonchalant about kicking the bucket, or even catching the flu.

Theists and atheists are equally ignorant about what happens after death or what existed before life. That doesn't mean that all or any religious view is correct. Atheism will never be killing each other because of their beliefs or ignorance. Everyone will still mourn and grieve the loss of family and friends, and religion may offer comfort.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Bao on Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:43 am

Dmitri wrote:
Bao wrote: For a couple of hundred of years there was no uncertainty, everyone believed in God.

Everyone? Got a source?

Also, humans, if you count the "early" ones, have been around for a couple of hundreds of thousands of years... So to which blissful 200-year window from that period are you referring to? :)


No, I wrote very fast. I meant a few hundred years ago... whatever I meant by that. Until late into the 18th century at least the whole world of the west was very religious. I can not imagine the 12th century to 18th century without strong religion. Imagine yourself that people only lived to about 40 yrs of age, it was 20% chance for a woman to die in child birth or from complications of giving birth, and less than only 20% of children survived to adult age. A woman needed to give birth to many children, and for every child, her own death became much more eminent. If everyone died around everywhere all of the time, I would need God in my life, or I would rather commit suicide.

Now, don't believe that I belong to any kind of church or any of the big religions. I am neither religious or outspoken atheist. If there's an after life or not? Frankly, I don't care. But I am rather surprised that not more atheists commit suicide, but there might be some sort of logic in what you said about no conflict brings some sort of happiness. What atheists say is that everything will eventually be gone and no memories or thought about no one will be left, so life is completely worthless. Life means suffering. so I have no idea why atheists keep on living when it's more logical to end ot all so you don't bring more pain to yourself and the world. Most atheists believe for some reasons that it's wrong to take your own life. I would say that it has a lot do do with our cultural heritage that was once strongly religious. It still affect people in terms of ethics and moral thinking. But hopefully, this comes to an end and everyone commits suicide. If there's no God or no after life, it would surely be the best for everyone and for the earth itself. Everything will eventually be gone and everyone will be equally worthless (which is a comforting thought), so why drag out all of the suffering when you can just end it now? If you absolutely believe in nothing, it seems stupid to me. :/
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Steve James on Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:32 am

Kinda funny that so many people don't find their lives worthless, and want to keep living, isn't it? Then again, that's almost universal among all living things. Funerals, otoh, are another thing: i.e., religion.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby kenneth fish on Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:38 am

Give me immortality or give me death!
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
Friedrich Nietzsche
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby David Boxen on Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:30 am

Bao wrote:
What atheists say is that everything will eventually be gone and no memories or thought about no one will be left, so life is completely worthless. Life means suffering. so I have no idea why atheists keep on living when it's more logical to end ot all so you don't bring more pain to yourself and the world.


You must have been talking to some very unhappy atheists :-\
I find the cognitive dissonance that is avoided by not buying into religious text is a great way for me to reduce suffering :D
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Ron Panunto on Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:30 pm

Steve James wrote:Kinda funny that so many people don't find their lives worthless, and want to keep living, isn't it? Then again, that's almost universal among all living things. Funerals, otoh, are another thing: i.e., religion.


The species must continue.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Ron Panunto on Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:48 pm

Bao wrote:Now, don't believe that I belong to any kind of church or any of the big religions. I am neither religious or outspoken atheist. If there's an after life or not? Frankly, I don't care. But I am rather surprised that not more atheists commit suicide, but there might be some sort of logic in what you said about no conflict brings some sort of happiness. What atheists say is that everything will eventually be gone and no memories or thought about no one will be left, so life is completely worthless. Life means suffering. so I have no idea why atheists keep on living when it's more logical to end ot all so you don't bring more pain to yourself and the world. Most atheists believe for some reasons that it's wrong to take your own life. I would say that it has a lot do do with our cultural heritage that was once strongly religious. It still affect people in terms of ethics and moral thinking. But hopefully, this comes to an end and everyone commits suicide. If there's no God or no after life, it would surely be the best for everyone and for the earth itself. Everything will eventually be gone and everyone will be equally worthless (which is a comforting thought), so why drag out all of the suffering when you can just end it now? If you absolutely believe in nothing, it seems stupid to me. :/


Bao, I am and have been a lifelong atheist, and have never thought of suicide. There is an overriding imperative that the species must continue. This is pre-wired into our brains and in most cases, overcomes the thoughts of suicide. In my case, and I think in the case of most atheists, I find life enormously enjoyable. When you get rid of the shackles of a possible life after death then you realize an incredible sense of relief and freedom. Life is what each individual chooses to make it, taking into account what random genes he happened to inherit.
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Dmitri on Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:20 pm

Bao wrote:I have no idea why atheists keep on living when it's more logical to end ot all so you don't bring more pain to yourself and the world. Most atheists believe for some reasons that it's wrong to take your own life.

it's because "logic" or "belief" doesn't control those things; what we (atheists or otherwise) do is dictated largely by the genes, and the only reason we exist today is exactly because all the genes that weren't promoting survival in one form or another haven't made it this far. That's why we are afraid of heights, etc. -- all the irrational fears we have, all the behaviors that make us want to be liked by others, want to have sex, etc., etc. -- it's all because of the fact that we (the way we are) made it to here-and-now, after millions of years of natural selection.

Your conscious mind is but a "consequence" of an unimaginably complex and elaborate process which is driven by the rest of your brain (and your body, and the rest of the universe).

everyone will be equally worthless (which is a comforting thought)

Everyone, and everything (same thing really, IMO), is "equally worthless" already; always have been. "Worth" is a human concept. Without humans, there's no such thing as "value" or "meaning"; none whatsoever. But it seems very hard for many (most?) people to truly see that, apparently, -- probably in large part due to the very same evolutionary "limitations" mentioned above, as thinking such thoughts doesn't exactly promote survival of the species. :)

, so why drag out all of the suffering when you can just end it now?

Because you don't really have that choice; you only think that you do. 8-)


kenneth fish wrote:Give me immortality or give me death!

:D
Well done, kind sir, well done!
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Re: Death and Religion

Postby Steve James on Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:52 pm

Without humans, there's no such thing as "value" or "meaning"; none whatsoever.


Only a human would say that ;) Almost all living "mothers" find their offspring valuable, even more valuable than their own lives.

None of that has anything to do with religion. A blade of grass needs no god to tell it to grow, no matter how many times we mow it down. And let's not even talk about weed, er weeds.
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