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If you don’t believe in God now, you may change your mind later.
Older people are more likely to believe in God, researchers from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center have discovered. Their study, which examined survey data from around the world, suggests that belief in God grows with age, as people approach their twilight years, Reuters reports.
“Looking at differences among age groups, the largest increases in belief in God most likely occur among those 58 years of age and older. This suggests that belief in God is especially likely to increase among the oldest groups, perhaps in response to the increasing anticipation of mortality,” the news agency quotes researcher Tom Smith as saying.
On average, 43 per cent of survey respondents who were 68 years and older said they were certain God exists. Among a younger cohort, aged 27 and under, an average of only 23 per cent said they firmly believed God exists. The data came from 30 countries, including Australia, Japan, the Czech Republic and Norway, surveyed in 1991, 1998 and 2008.
Participants were asked about how their beliefs changed over their lifetimes and about their attitudes toward God.
Mr. Smith noted that while belief in God had decreased over the past two decades, those declines were modest, Reuters reports.
In Canada, even though people’s interest in religion has declined since the 1970s, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve stopped believing in a higher power. Some statistics show up to 80 per cent of Canadians say they believe in God.
This is clearly biased towards monotheism, but I think similar parallels exist in Buddhist cultures as well. The majority of active participants in Buddhist temples in the countries I've been to tend to be middle aged and up. In Taiwan the machinery of Buddhist organizations are run by older laywomen. In Ladakh, India and here in Nepal the major pujas at gonpas all seem primarily attended by older generations. Young people don't show much interest in such things.