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Awe inspires belief in the supernatural


Posted on Monday, 25 November, 2013 | Comment icon 9 comments

Study participants were shown clips from a BBC nature series. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Selbst Gemacht
Awe-inspiring scenes such as the Grand Canyon have been found to invoke supernatural beliefs.
The claim is based on research conducted by a team from California who investigated how the BBC's Planet Earth documentary series influenced the spiritual beliefs of those who watched it.

The experiment involved showing a number of clips to volunteers, some from a news program and others from the nature series. Participants were asked how they felt after viewing the clips and whether or not they believed in the intervention of a higher power.

"Many historical accounts of religious epiphanies and revelations seem to involve the experience of being awe-struck by the beauty, strength or size of a divine being, and these experiences change the way people understand and think about the world," said Researcher Piercarlo Valdeso.

The results indicated that those who had been shown clips of the Planet Earth series were more likely to believe in God or the supernatural than those who were shown the news reports.

"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," said Valdeso.

Source: IB Times | Comments (9)

Tags: Religion, Spirituality, Supernatural

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin on 25 November, 2013, 17:18
Extreme displays of Nature has always given me an elevated feeling of "God" Don't know why, just that it does.
Comment icon #2 Posted by kannin on 25 November, 2013, 21:31
i feel that everytime i look at my daughters when i look at my sons i wana rip my face off lol
Comment icon #3 Posted by calaf on 25 November, 2013, 22:47
Why do I not find this an incisive revelation?
Comment icon #4 Posted by mumanster on 26 November, 2013, 0:26
The grandure of panoramic vistas always gives me the same feeling...pure awe... Rainy, cloudy days gives me the blues... Sunshine always brings hope... and Im just lovin it all...
Comment icon #5 Posted by Ryu on 26 November, 2013, 22:34
Good thing I am not "awed" by anything. Sure, the grand canyon is nice, so is the night sky and lots of other things, I guess I just am not getting the whole "awe" thing.
Comment icon #6 Posted by SpiritWriter on 27 November, 2013, 6:00
Of course these things inspire aww and the belief in the supernatural. :)
Comment icon #7 Posted by Ryu on 27 November, 2013, 21:24
Of course these things inspire aww and the belief in the supernatural. :) Why would they? I can understand being "amazed" but I do not understand the part about invoking a "belief in the supernatural" bit.
Comment icon #8 Posted by SpiritWriter on 27 November, 2013, 21:31
Why would they? I can understand being "amazed" but I do not understand the part about invoking a "belief in the supernatural" bit. It makes one think of God Thats what I really meant but worded it to fit the title. If it doesn't make you in particular think of God then perhaps I dont know how to describe it to you. Somethings have no words to describe them, but I honestly think you know what I mean. Looking at these scenes does something, moves us in a way, allows us to feel the mystery, complication, antiquity, unknowingness, majesty of life.... These are the same feelings invoked when in th... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Ryu on 27 November, 2013, 21:46
It makes one think of God.... but I honestly think you know what I mean. No, I don't. That is why I inquired. True, scenes can be nice but for me when I see something nice I certainly do not think of god, either metaphorically or a anthropocentic/personified one, I might think of the natural processes that made them.


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