This review summarises research on the relationship between death anxiety and religiosity. The fear of death is commonly hypothesized as a motivation for religious belief. From a Terror Management Theory perspective, religious beliefs are especially attractive because they offer both literal and symbolic immortality in the form of afterlife beliefs and belonging in venerable systems of value respectively. However, the evidence for any relationship — whether correlational or causal — between death anxiety and religious belief is weak. Indeed, evidence for death anxiety under normal (i.e. non-life threatening) circumstances is surprisingly hard to find. If the fear of death motivates religiosity, it does so subtly, weakly, and sporadically.
ASJC Scopus subject areas