The results of a new study that reveal something very interesting about atheists. The study took place in Finland and was published in the The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion under the title “Atheists Become Emotionally Aroused When Daring God to Do Terrible Things.”
Researchers connected both religious individuals and self-described atheists to machines that measure perspiration. (Increased sweating is a sign that someone is becoming more anxious and nervous; it is the basis for lie detector tests.) The test subjects were then asked to make statements like “I wish my parents would drown” and “I dare God to drown my parents.” Religious people were more nervous and upset after uttering statements that asked God to do bad things, but researchers were more interested to see the atheists’ responses. After all, if there is no God, then wishing for something bad to happen and asking God to do it amounts to the same thing. However, the reactions among atheists differed little from the reactions among religious people:
“According to the skin-conductance tests, the atheists found asking God to harm them or others to be just as upsetting as religious folks did. The researchers also compared the reactions of the atheists when making statements like ‘I wish my parents were paralyzed’ and ‘I dare God to paralyze my parents.’ Atheists were, like believers, more bothered by the latter statement, if you believe the skin-conductance tests, even though both declarations would be, in theory, equally empty if there were no heavenly overseer.”
Just like religious people, atheists became more distraught and nervous when asking God to do something bad. This is especially surprising because the study was conducted in Finland, where 16 percent of people do not believe in God and organized religion is not very popular.
Originally posted at Catholic Answers.