God new evidence

GOD: new evidence


Born Believers?

(Beyond Ourselves #31)

What's in the series?      Previous: Life After Death?       Next: A Natural Explanation?

All through history and all round the world, people have been deeply religious. We are natural believers – being spiritual is built in to human nature. 

Today, there is growing interest in the scientific study of human spirituality – often called the Cognitive Science of Religion.  There is a growing body of evidence that we are 'born believers' – we are naturally inclined to see design and purpose in the world. This makes it easy for us to believe in God or gods, even as children. It is our 'default setting.'

One researcher says this:

'Religious ideas and behaviours ... are widespread because there is something in human nature that immediately makes some ideas more plausible and easier to acquire than some others.' (Ilkka Pyysiäinen, 'Is Religion Natural?' (2012))

Another puts it like this:

'Some form of religious belief and behaviour would… probably appear spontaneously on a desert island untouched by cultural transmission, particularly beliefs involving purpose and origins.' (Jesse Bering, 'The God Instinct' (2011))

Could human spirituality be another pointer to a reality beyond ourselves?

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Test of Faith

‘Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since to come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God.’ – Professor Anthony Flew