Do atheists secretly believe in God?
The heads and hearts of atheists may not be on precisely the same page. That’s the implication of recently published research from Finland, which finds avowed non-believers become emotionally aroused when daring God to do terrible things.
“The results imply that atheists’ attitudes toward God are ambivalent, in that their explicit beliefs conflict with their affective response,” concludes a research team led by University of Helsinki psychologist Marjaana Lindeman. Its study is published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.
Lindeman and her colleagues describe two small-scale experiments. The first featured 17 Finns, recruited online, who expressed high levels of belief, or disbelief, in God. They read out loud a series of statements while skin conductance data was collected via electrodes placed on two of their fingers.