Study: Natural Wonders Increase Our Tendency to Believe in God

A new study has found that encountering natural beauty—like waterfalls, the Grand Canyon or the Northern Lights—“increases people’s tendency to believe in God and the supernatural.” As part of the study, the team of researchers and psychological scientists showed some participants scenes from a nature documentary and others generic news interview footage, and then asked them a series of questions about God and faith. The ones who watched the nature film were more likely to believe in God and the power of the supernatural than the ones who watch the news clips. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Piercarlo Valdesolo, of Claremont McKenna College, told The Daily Mail, “The irony in this is that gazing upon things that we know to be formed by natural causes, such as the jaw-dropping expanse of the Grand Canyon, pushes us to explain them as the product of supernatural causes.” He even suggested that the sense of awe that comes from gazing up at the night sky or other natural wonders could explain the prominence of some prayer postures like kneeling or bowing. “The more submissive we act, the more awe we might feel, and perhaps the stronger our beliefs become.” In light of this recent research, do yourself a favor, and watch this awe-inspiring time-lapse video of America’s natural beauty …

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