Skip to comments.Humans 'Predisposed' to Believe in Gods and Afterlife (3-year int'l research project concludes)
Posted on 07/19/2011 9:31:52 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
A three-year international research project, directed by two academics at the University of Oxford, finds that humans have natural tendencies to believe in gods and an afterlife.
The £1.9 million project involved 57 researchers who conducted over 40 separate studies in 20 countries representing a diverse range of cultures. The studies (both analytical and empirical) conclude that humans are predisposed to believe in gods and an afterlife, and that both theology and atheism are reasoned responses to what is a basic impulse of the human mind.
The researchers point out that the project was not setting out to prove the existence of god or otherwise, but sought to find out whether concepts such as gods and an afterlife appear to be entirely taught or basic expressions of human nature.
'The Cognition, Religion and Theology Project' led by Dr Justin Barrett, from the Centre for Anthropology and Mind at Oxford University, drew on research from a range of disciplines, including anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and theology. They directed an international body of researchers conducting studies in 20 different countries that represented both traditionally religious and atheist societies.
The findings are due to be published in two separate books by psychologist Dr Barrett in Cognitive Science, Religion and Theology and Born Believers: The Science of Childhood Religion.
Project Co-director Professor Roger Trigg, from the Ian Ramsey Centre in the Theology Faculty at Oxford University, has also written a forthcoming book, applying the wider implications of the research to issues about freedom of religion in Equality, Freedom and Religion (OUP).
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
“He has also set eternity in their heart...” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
All that time and money to come up with that conclusion...?
And then there are our amazing senses themselves.....
Maybe it takes a scientific project to get some of our misguided “brights” to think about the eternal order of things.
No society, absent a direct law AGAINST religion, has ever been atheistic.
The understanding that these could not exist on their own leads to God...It's called "Faith"...as per Kant's "A Critique of Pure Reason".
Everyone of us is amazed at the universe around us. It will always be so.
Even in Communist societies, it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate the influence of religion, especially in traditionally Christian countries.
It would be interesting if a bunch of atheists got together in some barren area and started a purely atheistic society from scratch to see what they came up with after a few generations. My guess is that it wouldn’t be pretty, or we’d have more examples in history.
Unfortunately, all we have as examples are those using the carcass of a forcefully gutted Christian society as a basis for atheistic societies to temporarily take over.
Sames verse came to my mind!
RE: Even in Communist societies, it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate the influence of religion, especially in traditionally Christian countries.
It has been observed that China has one of the fastest growing Christian population in the WORLD!
See here :
In Communist China, Protestant Christianity Becomes Fastest Growing Religion
Augustine, Confessions: Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until the rest in Thee.
“predisposed”....why, to what end? and predisposed by Who? And what is the evolutionary explanation for this??? hmmm?
But I do find it interesting that EVERY society, absent a law against it, was largely religious. And, as you pointed out, even WITH a law against religion - people still believe in secret and are deeply influenced by their faith or the cultural history of their faith.
Most human evolution is driven by tribal warfare and religion provides a winning advantage. The first tribe that discovered religion was so successful they went on to populate the world and kill off the nonreligious humanoids such as the Neanderthals. It's why the only humans alive today are all the same species. Tribal warfare is an unnaturally high speed version of evolution and is why we evolved so fast.
Predisposed by that series of random mutations known as evolution.
The ability to recognize patterns (not just visual patterns, mind you, but patterns in the wider sense of the word - i.e., when making observations of natural phenomena) correlates closely with the power of abstract reasoning - to draw conclusions (deductive reasoning) and to formulate generalized rules (inductive reasoning).
This tendency (to look for patterns) represents a Darwinistic Advantage, and is so strong that humans will frequently see patterns even when there aren't actually any there. I.e., we are inclined to impose patterns on what is often actually a collection of random events, or to formulate invalid rules or to draw false conclusions.
This is the price we pay for this otherwise useful tendency. (Just as many other advantageous traits likewise carry with them certain unavoidable disadvantages.) However, for our ecological niche, this cluster of traits (inborn curiosity about our natural environment; the tendency to try to make observations and formulate generalizations, etc.) has, on the whole, proven to be more beneficial than detrimental.
However, such a trait can, at times (like when the environmental shifts) become distinctly disadvantageous.
The belief in magic and in supernatural beings - the (errant) belief that we can placate evil spirits or wrathful gods and/or induce them to do our bidding (bring rain, heal cancer, supply the winning lottery numbers, etc.) blinds the believer to an extent, and warps his sense of reality, but may provide him with a beneficial (if illusory) feeling of power over his own destiny.
Belief in "invisible friends" may have been a benign or even helpful thing in the olden days. It provided "peace of mind" and helped people accept the unavoidable at a time when primitive technology was unable to provide better solutions. But it has outlived its usefulness.
An additional explanation is that, at some point in his intellectual development, Man was suddenly able to conceive of his own mortality - to "counteract" the potentially adverse consequences of that (nihilism), belief in an afterlife was invented.
Funny thing I notice about all the atheists that I know (for instance - one of my brothers) - rather than simply dismiss the idea of (a) God, they all seem to be angry - hostile even - towards the very idea of God.
Methinks "thou doth protesteth too much..."
Chuckles - sounds like an opinion...
It’s all in Romans 1.
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