There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that religion has a particular appeal to the lonely.
There is even some evidence to suggest a correlation between religion and dealing with feelings of loneliness. While some may find the idea of an omnipresent, all-knowing being constantly shadowing you unsettling, it is easy to understand why the lonely may be more likely to seek out supernatural comfort to assuage their isolation.
The main draw of religion for the lonely may not in fact be the promise of a loving god or an afterlife at all, however.
Rather, religion may have social benefits: with choosing a religion often comes a community that is willing to accept those who share their beliefs. Indeed, religion’s power to form what are essentially tribes may be one of the reasons why it has survived evolutionary whittling, though this is one of several theories.
However, religion can be used to isolate others and make them feel lonely. So-called “spiritual warfare” has been used to disfranchise several groups of people, a couple of recent examples being people of color and the LGBT community.
Image credit: aronki.
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