Study: People Least Afraid Of Death Are Atheists Or Very Religious

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Atheists and very religious people are the least afraid of death, according to a new study.

The study found fear of death was correlated with religiosity in an “inverse-U pattern,” meaning moderately religious people are the most afraid of death.

Higher levels of religiosity are linked to lower levels of death anxiety, but so is having no religion whatsoever.

Researchers say their findings debunk the notion that fear of death is a primary motivator for religious belief.

“This definitely complicates the old view, that religious people are less afraid of death than nonreligious people,” Dr. Jonathan Jong, a researcher at Coventry University who was involved in the study, said in a press statement. “It may well be that atheism also provides comfort from death, or that people who are just not afraid of death aren’t compelled to seek religion.”

Researchers looked at 100 studies and surveys of religious belief, covering 26,000 people worldwide. Most of these studies were conducted in the U.S. among Christians, but a few were conducted in the Middle East and East Asia on Muslims. This makes it hard to generalize how religiosity in different religions relates to anxiety about death.

The study found this pattern to be remarkably consistent no matter how they measured religious belief, including surveying for a belief in God, a belief in the afterlife or just religious behavior like going to church or praying.

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