Religious belief is human nature

  (14 May 11)
  by

Religion comes naturally, even instinctively, to human beings, a massive new study of cultures all around the world suggests.

"We tend to see purpose in the world," Oxford University professor Roger Trigg said Thursday. "We see agency. We think that something is there even if you can't see it. ... All this tends to build up to a religious way of thinking."

This is a quote from a piece reporting on a global study of human nature. It is a short report and I look forward to more details of the study.

So if you're religious you will probably say: "Of course, God made humans like that."

And if you're an atheist you'll likely say: "Well we'd better get over it."

What's your response?

7 comments

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Posted by jak

Or you could say as an atheist "Humans made God because we are like that." It is a more satisfying view to me and fits better with humans I have observed..including myself!

Posted by Owen

As a species, we don't handle notions of uncertainty, insecurity and chaos readily. We are largely uncomfortable with the idea of a universe without a grand purpose, so we create one.

Posted by Marian Kleinberg

I agree with these comments. We may be naturally religious or spiritual beings, but it need not follow that it is natural for us to believe in a supernatural being. There is a natural tendency for people to believe in miracles only if they are ignorant about the real cause of the event and of the scientific explanation of other events, and fortunately everyone has not resorted to a belief in miracles; otherwise there would be no curiosity and scientific progress. A belief in a supernatural being can be manipulated by an elite few who will control their lives. Rather than turning to a supernatural explanation or turning to a supernatural being for help, people should have faith that there is a practical explanation for all phenomena, and it is up to them to make the most that they can of their lives. Religious people may recognise that spirituality can be experienced after they have concentrated deeply upon something that they care about.

Posted by Helen Mason

We can look with awe at the Universe yet feel angry over percieved injustices on this planet.The fact that we are unable to understand bad happenings does not negate the possibility of a supernatural and good (much better than us anyhow) esoteric force beyond of present comprehension. ~~~~~~~~~~Paul Murchison.

Posted by Paul Murchison

Atheism seems to be really bounding ahead and often in places some would not expect. For example St Michaels in Melbourne preachs a sort of pop psychology, while a little further east the Melbourne Unitarian "Church" is a largely atheistic organization. Christianity is often blamed because of its seemingly sordid past, but how could it be otherwise? Historically any supernatural progression could not happen instantaneously. One may ponder esoteric possibilities without aligning oneself to any entire creed. As for scientism and atheism, Darwinian explantions may not be as impressive as they purport to be and the perpetrators of some factions even more dogmatic than the religious lobby. Indeed, some atheists can be extremely rude and insensitive as well, a trait that seems endemic in dogmatists of all persusions. Treading warily and holding an open mind may be a sound dictum. ~~~~~~~Paul Murchison.

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