Difference between revisions of "Atheism, panic attacks, stress, negative emotions, alcoholism and smoking"

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*[http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2012/03/21/atheists-dont-own-reason/10924 Atheists don’t own reason] by Tom Gilson
*[http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2012/03/21/atheists-dont-own-reason/10924 Atheists don’t own reason] by Tom Gilson
* [http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth11.html Why the Burden of Proof is on the Atheist] by Professor Ralph McInerny  
* [http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth11.html Why the Burden of Proof is on the Atheist] by Professor Ralph McInerny  
* [http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth02.html Theism, Atheism, and Rationality] by [[Alvin Plantinga]]  
* [http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth02.html Theism, Atheism, and Rationality] by [[Alvin Plantinga]]
*''[http://www.voxday.net/mart/TIA_free.pdf The Irrational atheist]: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens by Vox Day, Benbella Books, Dallas, TX, 2008'' , ISBN 1933771364; ISBN 978-1933771366
</ref> ]
</ref> ]
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Revision as of 23:11, February 5, 2023

An artistic depiction of an individual experiencing a panic attack being reassured and calmed by another person.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack or even dying...

It's not known what causes panic attacks or panic disorder, but these factors may play a role:

  • Genetics
  • Major stress
  • Temperament that is more sensitive to stress or prone to negative emotions
  • Certain changes in the way parts of your brain function[1]

Physiopedia indicates concerning panic attacks:

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by repeated, spontaneous and unexpected panic attacks...

Research shows a strong relationship between panic disorder and drug and alcohol abuse. It has been proposed that those with panic disorder use smoking and alcohol as a means of self-medication. However, other models suggest that substance abuse can exacerbate symptoms of panic disorder. One study indicates that smoking is three times more prevalent and harmful and that hazardous alcohol abuse is twice as prevalent in individuals with a history of panic attacks...

The exact cause of panic disorder has yet to be determined, however, several factors are thought to play a role in the development of this disorder. Family history, brain abnormalities, substance abuse and stress are among the factors that trigger panic attacks and furthermore, panic disorder.[2]

Atheism and alcoholism

Alcoholism was a serious social problem in the former atheistic Soviet Union.[3] Between 1940 and 1980, this atheist state had the largest increase of the amount of alcohol usage in the developed world.[4]

See also: Atheism and alcoholism

At least 100 studies suggests religion has a positive effect on preventing alcohol-related problems, researchers Christopher Ellison, Jennifer Barrett and Benjamin Moulton noted in an article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion on “Gender, Marital Status, and Alcohol Behavior: The Neglected Role of Religion.”[5]

The Barna Group found that atheists and agnostics in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: excessive drinking; illegal drug use; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.[6]

Atheism and smoking

See also: Atheism and smoking

The abstract of the 2012 International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine journal article entitled Religion and smoking: a review of recent literature indicates:

Tobacco smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are a major threat to human health worldwide. The effort to prevent tobacco use should be regarded as an important public health strategy. Given the significance of religion and spirituality in the daily life of more than 90% of the world's population, the relationship of religion and smoking should be seen as a critical research area. Religions are many and varied, but most value human well-being highly and so do not approve of tobacco use, even though they do not prohibit it entirely. In recent years, researchers have shown more interest in the subject of religion and health, including drug and tobacco use. Differences of focus and methodology notwithstanding, most studies have ascertained a deterrent role for religion as regards tobacco use, and several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the negative relationship between religion or spirituality and smoking.[7]

The 2017 journal article Smoking and Religion: Untangling Associations Using English Survey Data published in the Journal of Religion and Health indicates: "Highest levels of smoking characterise people not professing any religion... An association between smoking and the absence of a religious affiliation is sustained. An understanding of the association between smoking and religion is essential to the development of tobacco control programmes."[8]

According to Science Daily: "Young Swiss men who say that they believe in God are less likely to smoke cigarettes or pot or take ecstasy pills than Swiss men of the same age group who describe themselves as atheists. Belief is a protective factor against addictive behaviour. This is the conclusion reached by a study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation."[9]

Paris street photo of a man smoking.

In 2015, according to survey data, 29% of France's population identified as atheists and 63% identified as non-religious.[10]

Tourists visiting France often cite smoking as the first culture shock they experience.[11] A survey by travel website Tripadvisor reported that users found that France was by far the "smokiest" country in the world.[12]

During the French Revolution, smoke filled Paris cafés turned into centers of lively political discussion and activity, often led by members of the Revolutionary clubs.[13][14] See also: French Revolution and atheism

Atheism, religion and stress reduction

See also: Atheism and anxiety and Atheism and the brain

Believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress, according to new University of Toronto research that shows distinct brain differences between believers and non-believers.[15] See: Atheism and the brain

The abstract for the 2019 journal article Review of the Effect of Religion on Anxiety published in the journal International Journal of Depression and Anxiety states:

There were 32 studies included. This review showed, in almost every study, that religion in general, religious training, spirituality, faith, prayer, religious community and worship were associated with reduced anxiety (stress). These effects were observed in both healthy individuals and in various patient populations. In addition, a number of studies demonstrated that religious based treatment intervention was helpful in the treatment of anxiety.[16]

According to the leading science news website Phys.org:

Believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress, according to new University of Toronto research that shows distinct brain differences between believers and non-believers.

In two studies led by Assistant Psychology Professor Michael Inzlicht, participants performed a Stroop task - a well-known test of cognitive control - while hooked up to electrodes that measured their brain activity.

Compared to non-believers, the religious participants showed significantly less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that helps modify behavior by signaling when attention and control are needed, usually as a result of some anxiety-producing event like making a mistake. The stronger their religious zeal and the more they believed in God, the less their ACC fired in response to their own errors, and the fewer errors they made...

Their findings show religious belief has a calming effect on its devotees, which makes them less likely to feel anxious about making errors or facing the unknown.[17]

The abstract for the journal article entitled Religious comfort and anxiety in women with cancer: The mediating role of hope and moderating role of religious struggle published in the journal Psychooncology indicates: "Religion appears to protect against developing anxiety because it enhances hope."[18]

According to the American Cancer Society: "According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 69% of cancer patients say they pray for their health. A recent study published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, suggests a link between religious or spiritual beliefs and better physical health reported among patients with cancer."[19]

See: Atheism and cancer and Irreligion and recovery from illnesses

The Christian apologist Gary Habermas wrote: "Double-blind prayer experiments: where people pray for others with terminal illness. Habermas admitted that most such experiments have not worked, but the three that he knows of that have indeed worked were cases of orthodox-Christians praying for the sick."[20]

See also: Studies on prayer]

Atheism and negative emotions

See also: Atheism and negative emotions/thoughts

Atheists are more prone to various emotional problems (see: Atheism and emotional problems).

These negative emotions can generative negative thoughts which lead to negative actions some of which are noted below.

To see relevant studies and historical data about the atheist population's highly unusual propensity to display negative emotions such as depression, anger, anxiety and boredom, please see:

Research suggests that irreligiousity is a causal factor for domestic violence.[21]

See also: Irreligion and domestic violence and Atheism and divorce

1. Atheism and depression (Cites relevant studies about atheism increasing depression)

2. Atheism and suicide (Atheists have a higher suicide rate than the general public)

3. Atheism and emotional intelligence (Cites relevant studies about atheists having lower emotional intelligence). See also: Atheism and alcoholism

4. Atheism and loneliness (Cites studies and other relevant data)

5. Militant atheism and anger (Studies and historical information about atheism and anger)

6. Irreligion and domestic violence and Secular Europe and domestic violence (Research indicates that religiosity lowers one's propensity to engage in domestic violence)

7. Militant atheism (Historical information about atheism/violence/intolerance)

8. Atheism and social intelligence (Cites relevant studies and historical data showing lower interpersonal skills within the atheist population)

A common and legitimate criticism of the atheist worldview is that atheism is irrational.[22] ]

See also: Atheism and irrationality

9.Atheists suffer from a variety of anxieties that often the religiously devout do not suffer from or rarely suffer from (see: Atheism and anxiety).

10. Atheism and death anxiety (Cites relevant studies and historical data related to atheism/death anxiety and related matters)

11. Atheism and feelings of meaninglessness (Cites relevant information from studies and history)

12. Atheism and irrationality (Cites studies on irreligion/irrationality/superstitious beliefs and other relevant information)

13. Atheism and mental toughness

Atheism and the brain

See: Atheism and the brain

Brain researchers have conducted a number of studies focusing on the differences between atheists and the religious. See: Atheism and the brain

See also


  1. Panic attacks and panic disorder, Mayo Clinic
  2. Panic Disorder, Physiopedia
  3. Hazardous alcohol drinking in the former Soviet Union: a cross-sectional study of eight countries
  4. Alcoholism in the Soviet Union
  5. The Doubled-Edged Sword of Religion and Alcoholism
  6. Practical Outcomes Replace Biblical Principles As the Moral Standard
  7. [Religion and smoking: a review of recent literature.] by Garrusi B1, Nakhaee N., International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine , 2012;43(3):279-92.
  8. *Smoking and Religion: Untangling Associations Using English Survey Data, J Relig Health. 2017
  9. Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung [Swiss National Science Foundation] (October 3, 2013). "Believers consume fewer drugs than atheists". Science Daily website/Science News. Retrieved on May 23, 2015.
  10. La carte de l’athéisme dans le monde : la France numéro 4, L'Obs, 2015
  11. The French and smoking: Is France really 'Europe's chimney'
  12. The French and smoking: Is France really 'Europe's chimney'
  13. Fierro, Alfred (1996). Histoire et dictionnaire de Paris. Robert Laffont. p. 743. ISBN 2-221-07862-4.
  14. French revolution in cafe society
  15. Researchers find brain differences between believers and non-believers, Phys.org, March 4, 2009
  16. Review of the Effect of Religion on Anxiety by William C Stewart, MD*, Megan J Wetselaar, BA, Lindsay A Nelson, BS and Jeanette A Stewart, RN, Stewart et al., International Journal of Depression and Anxiety, 2019, 2:016 Volume 2, Issue 2, DOI: 10.23937/2643-4059/1710016
  17. Researchers find brain differences between believers and non-believers, Phys.org, March 4, 2009
  18. Religious comfort and anxiety in women with cancer: The mediating role of hope and moderating role of religious struggle by Zarzycka B, Śliwak J, Krok D, Ciszek P., Psychooncology. 2019 Jun 19. doi: 10.1002/pon.5155.
  19. Study: Cancer Patients with Strong Religious or Spiritual Beliefs Report Better Health, American Cancer Society
  20. Christian Apologist: 10 Reasons for the Fall of Atheism by Gary Habermas
  21. doi: 10.1177/1077801207308259 Violence Against Women, Race/Ethnicity, Religious Involvement, and Domestic Violence, November 2007 vol. 13 no. 11 1094-1112
  22. Atheism by Matt Slick