Across different cultures, can science and religion get along?
Religion, Paranormal Beliefs, and Distrust in Science: Comparing East Versus West
Studies in Western contexts suggest that religiosity is in conflict with rationality since it relates to paranormal beliefs and distrust in science. East Asian cultures, known to be holistic and tolerant of contradictions, may, however, not experience this conflict. Using the International Social Survey Program, we analyzed data from Buddhists, Protestants, and Catholics in South Korea (Ns = 358; 391; 135), as well as Catholics and Protestants in Austria and Denmark (Ns = 715; 1,545). Results confirmed a positive association between religiosity and paranormal beliefs among dominant religious group but not among Korean Christians. Moreoever, wheras religiosity in the West correlated positively with distrust in science, the opposite held for religious Korean groups. Religiosity mediated the relationship between paranormal beliefs and distrust in science among all dominant religious groups but in opposite directions in East and West. These findings bring a new cross-cultural perspective on the religion-science relationship.
Photo by K.J. Messick
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