The 16 Strivings for God

Psychologist Steven Reiss conducted research on why people gravitate to specific religions. He surveyed 7,700 people from diverse backgrounds and determined that people have sixteen basic desires they seek to align with the religion they choose.

16 Basic Desires
Acceptance – the desire for positive self-regard
Curiosity – the desire for understanding
Eating – the desire for food
Family – the desire to raise children and spend time with siblings
Honor – the desire for upright character
Idealism – the desire for social justice
Independence – the desire for self-reliance
Order – the desire for structure
Physical activity – the desire for muscle exercise
Power – the desire for influence for influence or leadership
Romance – the desire for beauty and sex
Saving – the desire to collect
Social Contact – the desire to have fun with peers
Status – the desire for respect based on social standing
Tranquility – the desire for safety
Vengeance – the desire to confront provocations

What characteristics have drawn you to a particular religion?

Reiss, Steven. The 16 Strivings for God. Macon Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2015.

According to one estimate, there are 4,200 different organized religions in the world. National & World Religion Statistics – Church Statistics – World Religions

The First Prayer Study


Possibly the earliest study into the effectiveness of prayer comes from the Englishman, Francis Galton (1872) in his article entitled Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer. In this report, the author cited his own examination of the data of life expectancies of clergy and members of the royal houses, both of whom were assumed to pray more than the general population and to be supported more through intercessory prayer than anyone else. However, the study results indicated the opposite trend with physicians and lawyers outlasting clergy, and missionaries not living any longer than commoners. 

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