Thursday, January 28, 2016

More Americans Are Drawn to Feeling Awe & Wonder

By Carol Kuruvilla

Religion has always helped people feel connected to the divine and by extension, cultivate a sense of awe. In fact, some studies have shown that awe can directly inspire spirituality, and act as an assurance when awe causes fear or vulnerability. Religious buildings and rituals are designed specifically to give people the sense that there is a higher power in the universe. In 2003, University of California, Berkeley researchers Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt proposed that all of the ways that people may feel awe (through encounters with religion, nature, art, or even powerful people) share two characteristics: vastness and accommodation. [link]

About 54 percent of atheists surveyed in 2014 by Pew reported feeling wonder about the universe.