Feeling Is Believing: Inspiration Encourages Belief in God

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Even without direct evidence of God's existence, about half of the world's population believes in God. Although previous research has found that people arrive at such beliefs intuitively instead of analytically, relatively little research has aimed to understand what experiences encourage or legitimate theistic belief systems. Using cross-cultural correlational and experimental methods, we investigated whether the experience of inspiration encourages a belief in God. Participants who dispositionally experience more inspiration, were randomly assigned to relive or have an inspirational experience, or reported such experiences to be more inspirational all showed stronger belief in God. These effects were specific to inspiration (instead of adjacent affective experiences) and a belief in God (instead of other empirically unverifiable claims). Being inspired by someone or something (but not inspired to do something) offers a spiritually transcendent experience that elevates belief in God, in part because it makes people feel connected to something beyond themselves.
Publisher
SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC
Issue Date
2018-05
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSTRUCT; SMALL SELF; AWE; RELIGIOUSNESS; FACE; ANTECEDENTS; UNCERTAINTY; PERCEPTION; ELICITORS; EMOTION

Citation

PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, v.29, no.5, pp.723 - 737

ISSN
0956-7976
DOI
10.1177/0956797617743017
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/242409
Appears in Collection
MT-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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