Fear Not, for He Is with You – How Perception of God’s Approval Influences Believers’ Risk Attitude Towards War and Terrorism
Buril Almeida, Fernanda
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This research explores a multitude of questions related to religiosity, gender, and risk taking in politically relevant behavior, particularly behavior related to war and terrorism. Interacting with, and building upon, previous research conducted mainly in the fields of Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Anthropology, I develop a mixed-methods approach to identify patterns of attitudes towards risks, test new hypotheses regarding the effect of god’s approval and gender on these attitudes, and apply new frameworks to understanding seemingly non-optimal behavior motivated by the desire to please god. In the following chapters, I investigate believers’ attitudes towards low to extreme risks in actions that are approved or disapproved by god, analyze how changes in these perceptions can lead to change in risk taking, and how leaders with belligerent intentions, including leaders of terrorist groups, can manipulate those perceptions to influence followers’ behavior in their own interest.