Saturday, May 14, 2011

A new study of cultures all around the world suggests that religion comes naturally, even instinctively, to human beings.

Children in particular found it very easy to think in religious ways, such as believing in God's omniscience, said Oxford University professor Roger Trigg. But adults also jumped first for explanations that implied an unseen agent at work in the world, the study found.

Studies around the world came up with similar findings, including widespread belief in some kind of afterlife and an instinctive tendency to suggest that natural phenomena happen for a purpose.

Professor Trigg is the co-director of the three-year Oxford-based project, which incorporated more than 40 different studies by dozens of researchers looking at countries from China to Poland and the United States to Micronesia.

The study has profound implications for religious freedom. If you've got something so deep-rooted in human nature, thwarting it is in some sense not enabling humans to fulfill their basic interests.

Some believe that religion is a private matter but such a belief is wrong. It isn't just a quirky interest of a few, it's basic human nature. The study shows that it's much more universal, prevalent, and deep-rooted. You can't just pretend it isn't there.

Read more at Belief Blog

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