Agnostics May Be Less Emotionally Stable Than Atheists

Agnostics Might Be Much less Emotionally Steady Than Atheists



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Agnostic, atheist, antireligious, religious however not spiritual, and non-believer are a number of the phrases used to consult with people who find themselves not spiritual or don’t consider in God.

Maybe probably the most well-known of those phrases are atheist (individuals who consider God doesn’t exist) and agnostic (those that declare that they don’t or individuals can’t know the reality of God’s existence).

Printed in Psychology of Faith and Spirituality, a latest examine by Karim and Saroglou suggests individuals who self-identify as agnostic differ in vital methods from those that self-identify as atheist. The findings of this analysis are described under.

Investigating atheism, agnosticism, and theism

Pattern: 551 Belgian residents; 70% ladies; common age of 37 years outdated (18-94 vary). Most have been atheists (248); the remainder, Christians (178, primarily Catholic) and agnostics (125).


  • Neuroticism. Assessed utilizing the neuroticism gadgets of the Large 5 Stock. Instance: “I see myself as somebody who worries quite a bit.”
  • Prosocial orientation. Measured by assessing three indicators: agreeableness (Large 5 Stock), sincerity (HEXACO Character Stock-Revised-100), and overt social curiosity (Revised 5-Dimensional Curiosity Scale). Instance (agreeableness): “I see myself as somebody who’s thoughtful and sort to nearly everybody.”
  • Closed- vs. open-mindedness. Three indicators have been assessed: want for closure (motivation to hunt certainty), measured utilizing the Want for Closure Scale-brief type; dogmatism (dependable certainty in a single’s personal beliefs within the face of serious contradictory proof), with the Dogmatism Scale; and joyous explorative curiosity (the enjoyment of discovering the world fascinating), with the Joyous Exploration subscale of the Revised 5-Dimensional Curiosity Scale. Here’s a pattern merchandise (joyous exploration): “I take pleasure in studying about topics which might be unfamiliar to me.”
  • Cognitive reflection. Analytic considering was evaluated utilizing questions from the cognitive reflection check and the revised model of the cognitive reflection check. Pattern merchandise: “When you run a race and overtake the individual in second place, the place do you stand?”
  • Faith and spirituality. Religiosity was evaluated utilizing questions on prayer frequency and the significance of God and faith in a single’s life; spirituality was assessed with a one-item index; spiritual trajectory was decided by asking members to pick from 4 choices (e.g., “I didn’t develop up in a household with spiritual schooling, however at the moment I consider in God”); and choice for faith/spirituality was equally decided by asking members to pick from 4 choices (e.g., “I self-identify as … spiritual somewhat than religious”).

Agnostics in comparison with atheists and believers

The outcomes confirmed the next:

One, agnostics, in comparison with Christians and atheists, confirmed “decrease closed-mindedness normally, and dogmatism and wish for closure particularly, but in addition larger neuroticism.”

Two, agnostics “fell halfway between spiritual believers (excessive finish) and atheists (low finish) in present religious inclinations, previous spiritual upbringing, and prosocial tendencies.” And concerning the “latter, relying on the particular assemble, they appeared nearer both to the extra prosocial and better in social curiosity spiritual believers or to the decrease in agreeableness atheists.”

Three, in comparison with Christians, agnostics and atheists have been “larger in cognitive reflection (analytic considering) within the numerical area and joyous explorative curiosity.”

Briefly, agnostics resembled atheists when it comes to curiosity and logical reasoning, however have been much less dogmatic and extra neurotic, prosocial, and religious.

4, “it was the power of atheistic self-identification however not the power of agnostic self-identification that was positively associated to analytic considering and emotional stability, but in addition dogmatism.”

Agnostics in comparison with atheists

The information confirmed that in comparison with atheists, agnostics are usually:

  • “Extra anxious and hesitant about the perfect reply to offer to the elemental existential questions.”
  • “Extra all in favour of, and respectful of, individuals from reverse sides and their (un)beliefs and values.”
  • “Much less sure and extra versatile concerning their very own beliefs and worldviews.”
  • “Extra religiously socialized and…extra valuing (nonreligious) spirituality,” and because of this ready “to not throw the newborn [spirituality] out with the bathwater [religion]”.
  • Much less more likely to contemplate themselves excessive analytic thinkers.

Moreover, the regression evaluation confirmed neuroticism, prosocial orientation, open-mindedness, spirituality, and spiritual upbringing contributed to agnostic however not atheist id. Thus, being agnostic (vs. atheist) is not only a “residue of non secular schooling or present spirituality however corresponds to deeper persona inclinations amongst sure nonbelievers.”


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Two methods of conceptualizing agnosticism

Based mostly on the info, there are two methods of conceptualizing agnosticism:

One risk is that some agnostics possess most of the above traits and thus have a specific profile.

The opposite risk is that there are totally different motives for turning into agnostic—or there exists totally different types of agnosticism. What motives/types? For example: neurotic agnosticism, religious agnosticism, spiritual residue agnosticism, mental explorative agnosticism, and so on.

After all, we needs to be cautious to not get carried away with creating too many varieties of agnostics and nonbelievers. In spite of everything, agnostics and atheists are extra comparable to one another than to believers.

Certainly, agnostics resemble atheists in being decrease in agreeableness, dogmatism, and spirituality; and better in analytic considering, joyous exploration, and social curiosity.


In comparison with atheists, agnostics are usually:

  • Extra interested by others.
  • Much less sure and extra versatile about their views.
  • Extra open to different individuals’s concepts.
  • Not as emotionally secure.
  • Much less rigorous in considering and reasoning.

Nonetheless, atheists and agnostics are extra comparable to one another than to theists. Particularly, agnostics resemble atheists in being decrease in agreeableness, dogmatism, and spirituality; and better in analytic considering, joyous exploration, and social curiosity.


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