Monday, July 19, 2010

Atheistic Anxiety

Last week, I discussed the role of anxiety in religious thought, including an article showing that anxiety can lead to more religious extremism. Interestingly, a similar phenomenon seems to occur in atheism. We shouldn't be surprised about this, as I believe atheism is still a religion, just without a deity.

One of the more interesting points in this (in my opinion) is that it is people with overtly confident personalities that tend to become more zealous. "Meek" personalities tend to become "paranoid, credulous, and superstitious."

I think these kinds of things make sense because they seem to relate to the psychological idea of locus of control: Internal being I have control of my world, while External is I have no control over my world. If I have no control, I'll probably be meeker and more paranoid.

What do you think?


  1. I'm on the meek spectrum. When I was in a fundamentalist church, I was always doubting. When I have my atheistic moods, I always doubt. Now I'm in the agnostic middle. The same personality trait that made me doubt Christianity keeps me from becoming an atheist. Go figure!

  2. Thanks for your comment! I think it is significant that certain traits can make us both skeptical and faithful. Like many aspects of our lives, our greatest strengths are often our greatest weaknesses.

    My guess is that in your questioning, though, you also becoming firmer in what you actually believe. I gave a couple of presentations today, and we were talking in one about how challenging our ideas of God can sometimes make our false beliefs fall away so we can see the true God.

    In many ways, it seems like you have had enough experiences of God, but what's a barrier is the theologizing.

    What do you think?



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