Baker and Draper conducted a study to see if people who had moderate levels of religious belief would also have corresponding levels of paranormal supernatural beliefs. Researchers also wanted to see if there was a relationship between religious beliefs/practices and the belief in the paranormal, of God’s existence, and the belief in the Bible.
It is thought that people who have a stronger commitment to religious organizations and have a higher investment in those beliefs would also show a lower belief in the paranormal. People who believed that the Bible held a strong authority over religious practices would also show a lower belief in anything paranormal. Although there is a belief that some aspects of supernatural events are part of religious beliefs. For example, the Devil, Heaven, Hell and Angels are positively associated with the belief in God and traditional religion. Yet, religions often are suspicious or negative towards more general paranormal events such as: telepathy, reincarnation, astrology, or Psi is considered negative in regards to religious affiliations.
Results confirmed this tendency. Those with traditional religious beliefs/practices (i.e. Catholic, Protestant, and other religions.) had higher levels of belief in the paranormal than to those of evangelical beliefs (Conservative Christianity). Those who had a belief that the Bible has “human errors” also show a higher level of paranormal beliefs. Subjects that held a theistic belief (i.e. higher power or cosmic being, but not traditional religious views) showed the highest degrees of belief of the paranormal.
Thus, belief in the paranormal with religion appears to be a function of to what extent you are committed to a particular faith, and how conservative your beliefs about religion are.
Submitted by: Bridget Cotton
Baker, J. O., Draper, S. (2010): Diverse Supernatural Portfolios: Certitude, Exclusivity, and the Curvilinear Relationship Between Religiosity and Paranormal Beliefs. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49(3):413–424