The belief that you have a guardian angel watching your every move and protecting you from danger is one held not just by Catholics but by many in other religions. With that kind of supernatural power watching their backs, you would think that true believers would not be afraid to take risks. A new study found that the opposite is true.
While most associated with the Catholic Church, the idea of guardian angels or protective beings is a non-denominational and ancient one. The Roman historian Eusebius says that Greek pagans like the playwright Menander and historian Plutarch believed in them and monuments of the Babylonians and Assyrians depict them. Some Muslims believe that everyone has two of them and Zoroastrians hold that guardian angels patrol the gates of heaven and volunteer for guard duty on earth. Angels are mentioned throughout both the Old and New Testaments, with the Book of Hebrews calling them “ministering spirits,” and theologians like Thomas Aquinas have various teachings on their power and significance.
David Etkin, Professor of Disaster and Emergency Management at York University, Canada, hypothesized that guardian angel believers would feel protected and thus have a greater inclination to take risks. He and his team interviewed 198 people, questioning them on how they view risk, what kind of risky behaviors they’ve undertaken and why.
In his report published this week in SAGE open, he reveals that 68 percent of the guardian angel believers said it affects how they take risks, but a surprising majority of them claimed they were risk adverse. Etkin concluded that they used the belief as a coping mechanism to deal with the fear and anxiety of both real and perceived risks and threats. This was especially true among women and parents.
Do you believe in guardian angels? Do you think about it before taking risks? Does yours protect you when you take intentional risks or just from accidents? Will it help you see that it’s a wonderful life you live or protect you from a legion of angels gone bad?