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Religion, Paranormal Beliefs, and Distrust in Science: Comparing East Versus West

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Studies in Western contexts suggest that religiosity is in conflict with rationality since it relates to paranormal beliefs and distrust in science. East Asian cultures, known to be holistic and tolerant of contradictions, may, however, not experience this conflict. Using the International Social Survey Program, we analyzed data from Buddhists, Protestants, and Catholics in South Korea ( Ns = 358; 391; 135), as well as Catholics and Protestants in Austria and Denmark ( Ns = 715; 1,545). Results confirmed a positive association between religiosity and paranormal beliefs among dominant religious group but not among Korean Christians. Moreover, whereas religiosity in the West correlated positively with distrust in science, the opposite held for religious Korean groups. Religiosity mediated the relationship between paranormal beliefs and distrust in science among all dominant religious groups but in opposite directions in East and West. These findings bring a new cross-cultural perspective on the religion-science relationship.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Universite Catholique de Louvain Place du Cardinal Mercier 10, B-1348, Louvain-la-Neuve Belgium (at the time of study) Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research Rue d’Egmont 5, B-1000, Bruxelles Belgium Culture and Emotion Lab, Department of Psychology, Stanford University Jordan Bldg. 420, Stanford, CA 94305 USA (current) mclobert@stanford.edu ; 2: Department of Psychology, Universite Catholique de Louvain Place du Cardinal Mercier 10, B-1348, Louvain-la-Neuve Belgium vassilis.saroglou@uclouvain.be

10.1163/15736121-12341302
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2015-06-09
2018-04-23

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