Why people choose atheism over religious beliefs



New study shows that people who grew up in a household with little or no material and activities related to spiritual faith are most likely atheists in adulthood. According to research, the presence or absence of cultural transmission early in development could significantly stimulate people’s analytical thinking and affect their religious opinion.

Atheism and religion

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Will Gervais, psychology expert at Brunel University in London and author of the study, said in a PsyPost report that there had been numerous studies that attempted to identify the science behind how religions work, as well as the reason why it exists among many factors. The expert said that atheism is the most essential attribute that could be used to better understand the theories surrounding religion. They added that details of religious research often surface whenever atheism is linked to aspects of the topic.

Gervais, along with their team, conducted a study that could explain the fragments of religion and the cultural disbelief that comes with it. The review was made possible with the assistance of 1,417 participants from the United States. In the study, a measurement system called the Supernatural Beliefs Scale was used in an attempt to identify the position of people with their religious spectrum. The exam consisted of only simple questions including the intensity of their faith in God. Along with the questions, participants were asked to undergo psychological assessments related to existential security, the credibility of religion, and cognitive-reflexive aspects.

Throughout the review process, experts have found that people who have been less exposed to credibility-enhancing religious mediums are most likely atheists. The results also gave a relative perspective to the religious group, which was more exposed to religious exhibitions or had strict religious activities during a specific period of its life. According to experts, cultural development biased by context and transmitted culture are important factors that predict the belief and disbelief of an individual.

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Belief depends on exposure to religious manifestations

The results of examining the two factors in the study lean toward the results of people identifying them with regard to atheism and religion. Experts added that in simple terms, people can find out what their belief preferences are based on the actions their parents exhibited during their developmental stage.

The results showed that the group that had a more reflective cognitive approach tended slightly to have religious beliefs, and the other group that had a more perspective approach tended to be slightly atheist. However, factors such as religious disbelief and existential security were not related to each other.

Gervais said that people who are probably atheists like to share how rational thinking serves as the foundation for atheism. However, the expert said the idea is not accurate and atheism is also linked to cultural learning. Observing people from other groups who have strong faith in their religion prompts them to think more analytically. Gervais pointed out that research on atheism is limited and is only one piece of a bigger puzzle. The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, titled “The Origins of Religious Disbelief: A Dual Legacy Approach.”

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