Researcher says religion fulfills 16 basic human desires

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Throughout history, scholars and researchers have tried to identify the one key reason that people are attracted to religion.

Some have said people seek religion to cope with a fear of death, others call it the basis for morality, and various other theories abound.

But in a new book, a psychologist who has studied human motivation for more than 20 years suggests that all these theories are too narrow. Religion, he says, attracts followers because it satisfies all of the 16 basic desires that humans share.

“It’s not just about fear of death. Religion couldn’t achieve mass acceptance if it only fulfilled one or two basic desires,” said Steven Reiss, a professor emeritus of psychology at The Ohio State University and author of The 16 Strivings for God (Mercer University Press, 2016).

I am not attracted to Religion as such,
I am attracted to God and my Lord Jesus Christ,
and through this attraction I have become,
what people class as, religious.
But my attraction is always to God.


Well put, but there are some religious extremists that are attracted to God as well. Have to be careful

That explains why so many people over the generations stay in religions for the “social” aspect, without actually believing in or even knowing the doctrines.

Acceptance, curiosity, eating, family, honor, idealism, independence, order, physical activity, power, romance, saving, social contact, status, tranquility and vengeance.

Physical activity?

I’m glad he adds that all the 16 human desires can be met elsewhere, not just by religion.

“Secular society offers alternatives to fulfill all of the basic desires,” he says.

“Religion competes with secular society to meet those 16 needs and can gain or lose popularity based on how well people believe it does compared to secular society,” Reiss said.

One of the basic desires – **independence **– may separate religious and non-religious people.
In a study published in 2000, Reiss found that religious people (the study included mostly Christians) expressed a strong desire for interdependence with others.
Those who were not religious, however, showed a stronger need to be self-reliant and independent.


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