It's Hard Not To Believe

July 30th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Are humans predisposed to believing in supernatural beings or the after-life? According to The Cognition, Religion and Theology Project, yes we are.

As described in Science Daily, the research concludes ‘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 three-year international research project was led by psychologist Dr. Justin Barrett from the Centre for Anthropology and Mind at Oxford University.

It involved 57 researchers conducting over 40 studies, in 20 countries, representing a diverse range of cultures.

They weren’t trying to prove or disprove the existence of god, the afterlife or anything supernatural. They were simply looking at whether such concepts are taught or innate to our make-up.

Put another way, is it nature or nurture that makes us believe in magic and religion?

Findings from the research will be published in two books by Barrett – Cognitive Science, Religion and Theology, and Born Believers: The Science of Childhood Religion.

Project Co-Director Professor Roger Trigg has also written a book called Equality, Freedom and Religion, where he applies the research to questions surrounding morality and the freedom of religion.

I look forward to all three books, and any others that might come out of this work.

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