Why do people believe in God?

Why do people believe in God?

To feel in control of their lives.

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  • During the Great Depression, conversion rates for religious sects offering a high level of imposed order rose substantially (Sales 1972, 1973).

      • Experiments show that the less in control someone feels, the more likely they are to believe in God or some nonhuman entity that controls all events (Alan Kay 2008).

            Fear of death.

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              The need to belong.

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              • "Undergraduates read bogus astrophysics articles “proving” God's existence or not offering proof. Participants in the proof-for-God condition reported higher belief in God (compared to control) when they chronically imagined God as accepting but lower belief in God when they imagined God as rejecting." (Gebauer 2012).

                    To cope with suffering.

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                    • Experiments show that people believe in God's agency most when confronted with a harmful situation for which no other moral agent is seen to be responsible (like a tidal wave) (Gray & Wegner 2010).

                          Experiencing awe.

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                          • Subjects were shown a series of videos from the beautiful Planet Earth series rated the belief that history unfolds according to God's plan much more highly than a control group exposed to neutral videos (Valdesolo 2013).