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Study finds religious-minded are not weak-mindedcomment (0)

May 4, 2000

Religion isn’t a crutch for the weak-minded or the opiate of the masses, according to researchers at Ohio State University.

Despite the criticism of people ranging from Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura to Karl Marx, a new study finds religious-minded people are no more “weak-minded” than their irreligious peers.

Steven Reiss, a co-author of the study and professor psychology and psychiatry, found that while religious people had a strong desire for interdependence with others, this was not related to any desire for weakness.

Religious folk scored low in tests for independence (“probably reflecting their desire for dependence on God,” researchers stated) but had average responses in the area of power.

Independence seemed to be the major difference between religious and irreligious people. “People who score high on independence want to make their own decisions.” Reiss said. “They don’t normally enjoy having to rely on other people. In contrast, religious people seek strength by relying on the help of others, including God.”

The study also found religious people want interaction with others.

The study explored how 558 students and professionals rated 15 separate fundamental desires and values, from sex to spirituality. The results were published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. (EP)

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