People turn to religion after natural disasters – but it doesn’t actually provide much solace.
So say researchers Sibley and Bulbulia, who examined the population of Christchurch, New Zealand, before and after the 2011 earthquake. 185 died and many city landmarks were damaged in the disaster.
The paper, Faith after an Earthquake, opens with a Biblical quote.
Sibley and Bulbulia took advantage of the fact that a longitudinal study of the ‘health and values’ of the New Zealanders was already underway when the quake struck, and the survey included questionnaires about religious beliefs.
They found that, compared to before the event, residents of the affected Canterbury region were more likely to report becoming religious (8.6%) than of losing their faith (5.3%); in the rest of the country religion declined from 2009 to 2011, so the earthquake-hit area was exceptional.
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