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Miraculous Meaning: Threatened Meaning Increases Belief in Miracles


For many, religious belief is a source of meaning and a resource for coping with life stressors that have the potential to undercut meaning. In the present study, we sought to further probe the connection between religion and meaning by focusing on the potential for threatened meaning to inspire belief in miraculous testimonials. We threatened meaning with a meaninglessness manipulation and then had participants read testimonials in which people described miraculous experiences involving supernatural agents and rate the extent to which they believed these testimonials to be credible and true. Meaning threat, relative to a control condition, increased belief in miraculous stories.

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The present research was funded, in part, by a Grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Correspondence to Clay Routledge.

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Routledge, C., Roylance, C. & Abeyta, A.A. Miraculous Meaning: Threatened Meaning Increases Belief in Miracles. J Relig Health 56, 776–783 (2017).

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  • Religion
  • Meaning in life
  • Supernatural beliefs
  • Psychological health