14 March 2011

Highlights of Research no.1

From the Jan 2009 issue of Sociology of Religion comes the enticingly titled paper Round Trip to Hell in a Flying Saucer: The Relationship between Conventional Christian and Paranormal Beliefs in the United States.

To save you the trouble of reading this paper in its entirety, here is a sort of executive summary presented via key excerpts:

In this paper we examine the relationship between conventional Christian and paranormal beliefs. Conventional Christian beliefs are those such as belief in Heaven, Hell, and the existence of God. Paranormal beliefs include belief in UFOs, astrology, haunting, communication with the dead, and Bigfoot.

But are these different types of beliefs compatible? Will someone who believes in eternal life or the resurrection reject beliefs in flying saucers, ghosts, extrasensory perception (ESP), and the like?

Finally, a number of studies have discussed potential nonlinear effects… Paranormal beliefs are strongest among those with no Christian beliefs and with the strongest Christian beliefs, and are weak among those with moderate Christian beliefs.

Those with higher levels of education and income are significantly less likely to report strong paranormal beliefs. Also, older and white respondents report lower levels of paranormal belief than do younger and nonwhite respondents… Moreover, females are statistically more likely than males to report beliefs in paranormal phenomenon.


Mark said...

I used to think that everybody needs something intangible to believe in but I've met all sorts. Some believe that UFOs are actually demons or tricks of the Devil (sort of like fossils) to keep believers from thinking about God.

Jeff said...

The jokes just write themselves sometimes, don't they.