Traditional Religious Beliefs and Belief in the Paranormal

Hillstrom and Strachan (2000) conducted a study to determine if traditional protestant beliefs in the Bible would have an effect on paranormal beliefs. They categorized believers of religious writings into three sets: (a) Believers, which are those that are defined to have strong belief in biblical writings, (b) Nominal Believers, those that have accepted some, but not all of the biblical writings, and (c) Non-believers, which are those that do not accept any biblical doctrines.

The researchers conducted the study using college students. Questions relating to religious beliefs and the strength of those beliefs were measured. Those questions were analyzed based on the person’s response from their religious and paranormal beliefs

The results showed that there was a difference between those three groups. Those that were believers in religious writings were less likely to believe in certain paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, healing, reincarnation, and did not believe that contacting the dead was considered “good”. Those that were considered Nominal believers (accepted some but not all biblical writings) were less likely to believe in prophecy, psychokinesis, healing, or reincarnation than those who were non-believers.


Submitted by: Bridget Cotton



Hillstrom, E. L., & Strachan, M. (2000). Strong commitment to traditional Protestant religious beliefs is negatively related to beliefs in paranormal phenomena. Psychological Reports, 86(1), 183-189.


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