Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Religion vs. Anxiety

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, religion, anxiety, New Scientist,

Religious people may be less anxious than the non-religious, according to new research reported by the New Scientist. Using brain scans, researchers found that non-believers showed more activity in a part of the brain linked to anxiety than their devout counterparts. Religion could help reduce anxiety, according to the study’s lead neuroscientist Michael Inzlicht, because “it provides a kind of blueprint on how to interact with the world."

gordon shephard
3/28/2009 9:46:12 AM

Read Earnest Becker, "The Denial of Death" to find out why!


"deluded"
3/27/2009 3:15:41 PM

Why so condescending Digitalzen and Vince? I consider myself a religious person so I say this at the risk of alienating others and damaging my own ego, but have you no crutch? What would one replace religion with? Simple - chocolate, sex, television, yoga, clam chowder, new shoes, hugs and all of the billions of other things that people use to comfort themselves and to define themselves. When in need of comfort, some turn to prayer, ignoring that the supernatural being they’re consulting with may not exist and/or may not care. Alternatively, some people eat a cheeseburger and chose to ignore that it’s clogging their arteries and widening their ass. Why is one “delusion” any more worthy of vilification than the other?


digitalzen
3/27/2009 8:42:37 AM

It is easy to be facile regarding delusions and other psychobabble. However, it must also be noted that the billions of believers find solace, consolation, community, structure, support and even define their families consonant with their religious beliefs. My question is this: if you take that from them, with what would you replace it? Religion has existed for many millennia, and we doubters have always been in the minority. It is easy to scoff; less so to understand, and respect -- not the shamans, but those who need them.


vince reardon
3/26/2009 8:08:10 AM

Deluded people are always a little less anxious than the rest of us. And by deluded I'm referring to Freud's "The Future of a Delusion," in which he describes the mechanics of religious belief as one large wish fulfillment. As a recovering Catholic I know all about projecting my fears and anxieties through prayer to that Great Nobody in the Sky. Would that he, she or it were there. But, alas, it's fruitless. We're in this mess and we're in it alone.