Do Those Who Experience War Become More Religious? Study shows that many who experience trauma of war become increasingly religious

It's been said that there are no atheists in foxholes, but a new study led by Joseph Henrich has shown that the impact of war on religion extends well beyond the front lines.

The chair of the Department of Human and Evolutionary Biology, Henrich and a team of international collaborators gathered survey data from several locations around the globe and found that, following the trauma of seeing a friend or loved one killed or injured during conflict, many became more religious. The study is described in a Jan. 28 paper published in Nature Human Behavior.

"I became interested in this question through my prior work, which has been focused on how religious beliefs can cause people to cooperate more in a group," Henrich said. "The idea is that if you can expand the sphere of cooperation, then that group can more successfully compete against others, sometimes even through violent conflict.

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WNU Editor: My father fought for almost four years on the Russian front for the Soviet Union during the Second World War, and he was never religious. Two of my cousins fought for the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s, and they are very religious. I guess it all comes down to who and what the person is.

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