Why are women more religious than men? A psychologist explains17
We know that, in most churches, there are typically going to be more women than men. Also, younger men are going to less present than older men. This psychologist says that much of the differential between men, women and their decision to go to church lies in their risk preferences. To break it all down in laymen’s terms, women are more likely to be religious because risky things scare them. This might be even more true for African American women, who are more likely to suffer abuse and trauma at an early age.
This risk aversion translates to a need to lean on a higher power in order to gain protection from the things in the world that might do harm to them. So, whether a religion is real or not, it’s less risky to go ahead and accept the faith and give credit to a higher power for good things that happen than to risk the possibility that bad things will happen and make you wonder if it’s all going wrong because you didn’t go to church.
Also, scientists say that less risk-averse women are less likely to go to church and more risk averse men are more likely to attend church. So, it seems that many religious preferences are linked to risk – those who fear risk go to church, no matter what their gender may be; it just happens that women are not as interested in taking risks as men are. For black women, there may also be a high social cost of avoiding religion. If every other woman in your family shuns you for not going to church, this may make a person go to church, even if they would rather do otherwise.
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Women in virtually every society and culture are more religious than men, and the empirical evidence suggests that the reason is not gender socialization. So what explains the higher level of religiosity among women?
The sex difference in religiosity follows directly from the evolutionary psychological theory of the origin of religious beliefs that I present in earlier posts (Part I, Part II) and the sex difference in risk-taking, which I also explain in earlier posts (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV). You’ll recall that the evolutionary origins of religiosity are in risk management; it is less risky to overinfer agency and hence be susceptible to religious beliefs than to underinfer agency and get killed by enemies and predators when you least expect them. It is an error-management strategy to minimize the total costs of errors by predisposing the human brain to commit more false-positive errors of inference than false-negative errors when the former has less costly consequences than the latter.
You’ll also recall that women are inherently more risk-averse than men, both because women benefit far less from taking risks (given that there is a limit to how many children women can have and that all women are more or less guaranteed to have some children in their lifetime) and because their offspring suffer if women are risk-seeking (and get injured or die as a result) . This is why men are much more criminal and violent than women. If men are more risk-seeking than women, and if religion is an evolutionary means to minimize risk, then it naturally follows that women are more religious than men.
READ MORE via Why Are Women More Religious Than Men? II | Psychology Today.