Two new academic studies are likely to engage the interest, and may influence the strategic planning, of undertakers and celebrants.
The first tracks the decline of religious belief in America together with the decline of those who identify as spiritual. It discovers, in spite of this, that increasing numbers of Americans believe in an afterlife. Here’s the hypothetical explanation:
“In comparison with those from earlier years and generations, American adults in recent years and generations were slightly more likely to believe in an afterlife. Combined with the decline in religious participation and belief, this might seem paradoxical. One plausible, though speculative, explanation is that this is another example of the rise in entitlement—expecting special privileges without effort. Entitlement appears in religious and spiritual domains when people see themselves as deserving spiritual rewards or blessings due to their special status.”
The second study offers an explanation as to why more men than women are atheists:
“In a series of eight experiments, the researchers found the more empathetic the person, the more likely he or she is religious. That finding offers a new explanation for past research showing women tend to hold more religious or spiritual worldviews than men. The gap may be because women have a stronger tendency toward empathetic concern than men. Atheists, the researchers found, are most closely aligned with psychopaths–not killers, but the vast majority of psychopaths classified as such due to their lack of empathy for others.”