Is it the case that having religious beliefs makes you believe in paranormal events heard about on television and society? According to Hergovich and colleagues, the answer is yes. But, there are a lot of conditions that make a difference. For instance, only people that reported strong belief in traditional or older styles of religious belief were strongly related to high degrees of paranormal belief.
When looking more closely, the style of a person’s religious belief made a difference. People who were religious for spiritual reasons tended to have higher scores in paranormal belief. Paranormal belief was unaffected with people who were religious for the benefits they received. Also, being Catholic or Protestant showed slightly different degrees of relationship to having paranormal beliefs.
In closing, it is worth noting that the relationships in this study of religion to paranormal belief were rather small. In many instances, a person’s religious belief influenced paranormal belief scores by less than 5%. The exception were people who scored highly on the traditional religious belief measure within the paranormal belief scale. These individuals beliefs were strongly associated with paranormal beliefs. In some cases, traditional religious belief influenced paranormal belief scores by 36%!
Long story short, being religious influences your belief in the paranormal; but not necessarily by very much.
Submitted By: Brian Laythe
Hergovich, A., Schott, R. Arendasy, M. (2005) Paranormal belief and religiosity. The Journal of Parapsychology, 69, 293-303.