If you are familiar with the saying, “No atheists in foxholes,” you
To understand the relationship between war and religion, Henrich and his colleagues gathered data from more than 1,700 interviews with people in 71 villages scattered throughout Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, and Uganda. Their results showed that, among those who were most exposed to war, membership in religious groups increased by 12, 14, and 41 percentage points, respectively.
In addition, the researchers found that those who experienced the trauma of war were likelier to attend religious services and were likelier to rank religion as being significant in their lives than those who were not. And in some cases, those effects were surprisingly long-lived.
“One of the more interesting findings was that in some cases we found the effect endures,” Henrich said. “In
Tajikistanwe find the effect even 13 years post-conflict, and there’s no sense in which it declines.” Peter Reuell, “Study shows that many who experience traumaof war become increasingly religious” at Phys.org
The researchers offer various evolutionary psychology musings, bypassing the obvious point: When tragedy or disaster strikes, merely facile, trendy accounts of life don’t work anymore. So people turn to timeless questions and timeless truths.
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See also: Evolutionary conundrum: is religion a useful, useless, or harmful adaptation?