Humans 'predisposed' to believe in gods and the afterlife

June 12, 2011

We have gathered a body of evidence that suggests that religion is a common fact of human nature across different societies. This suggests that attempts to suppress religion are likely to be short-lived as human thought seems to be rooted to religious concepts, such as the existence of supernatural agents or gods, and the possibility of an afterlife or pre-life.

This should surprise no one; something has to account for the faith-based irrationality exhibited by most adult humans.

Studies […] suggest that children below the age of five find it easier to believe in some superhuman properties than to understand similar human limitations. […B]y the age of four, children start to understand that [adults] are not all-seeing and all knowing. However, children may continue to believe in all-seeing, all-knowing supernatural agents, such as a god or gods.

The takeaway that affirms what we (and especially the church) already knew? Children should be inculcated as early as possible.

I appreciated this bit:

[T]heology and atheism are reasoned responses to what is a basic impulse of the human mind. (Emphasis mine.)

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