Church and State may not be as separated as some think.
When faith in external government systems fails, faith in God subsequently increases, according to a recent study published in the November issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Five researchers examined how instability in government order, ranging from economic turmoil to impending elections, affects individual psychological functioning. They based their findings on an analysis of historical trends and past research, as well as four experiments they designed.
The study highlights the psychological importance of personal control of one’s destiny in providing security. When someone feels personal matters are out of control, an external force — either government or God — can ensure things are under control. The order provided by a higher power or karma is thought to be common to almost all religions.
The paper claims belief in God and government serve overlapping functions as providers of structured, nonrandom, orderly worlds. The researchers also write that government and God may be substitutable.
This is consistent with the findings of Phil Zuckerman on how the most healthy societies tend to have high degrees of organic atheism, while unhealthy societies tend to be highly religious.