Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nihilism is associated with not knowing there is a God

General Social Survey respondents were asked: "Do you agree or disagree that life does not serve any purpose." Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (5) to "strongly disagree" (1). Here are the means by belief in God:

Mean nihilism score (N = 3,708)

Does not believe in God 1.68
There is no way to find out 1.75*
There is some higher power 1.72*
Believes sometimes 1.89*
Believes but doubts 1.62*
Knows there is a God 1.48

*significantly more nihilistic than those who know there is a God

All of the groups except atheists are significantly more nihilistic than those who know there is a God. (The sample size for the atheists is small).  The largest gap, that between knowers and those who believe sometimes, is half of a standard deviation--a fairly large difference.

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