Afterlife beliefs among evangelical and mainline Protestant children, adolescents, and adults: A Cultural–developmental study in the U.S.
This cultural–developmental interview study examined afterlife beliefs in relation to religious culture (evangelical and mainline Protestants) and age (children, adolescents, and adults; N = 120). Quantitative results showed that evangelical and mainline Protestants differed on every analysis: beliefs about what happens to us when we die, whether and why people experience different afterlives (e.g., heaven and hell), and the importance and desirability of the afterlife. Significant findings involving age mostly intersected with culture. Children and adolescents more than adults adhered to the religious teachings of their respective church communities. Qualitative analyses showed that participants’ descriptions of the nature of the afterlife were highly diverse. For example, they depicted living in the presence of a transcendent being, living in an ideal moral world, and the continued existence of self and others in physical, psychological, and spiritual ways. The number and breadth of descriptions suggest that afterlife beliefs do not derive from one cognitive mechanism but rather constitute a nexus for multiple psychological mechanisms and motives. Furthermore, these mechanisms and motives are shaped by culture in the course of development
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
afterlife beliefs, culture, evangelical Protestants, life course development, mainline Protestants
Jensen, Lene Arnett, "Afterlife beliefs among evangelical and mainline Protestant children, adolescents, and adults: A Cultural–developmental study in the U.S." (2021). Psychology. 821.