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-Religion: A Natural Part of Human Experience?

by Dr. D ~ August 2nd, 2011

Religious symbols (animated)

   (via  Wikipedia)

A popular dictum in academic circles is that religion is the product of culture and something we learn and adapt to as we grow older. Also, many hold that people should become less religious as societies modernize and become more scientific and educated.

However, a recent study completed by the  University of Oxford gives a far different picture. The Cognition, Religion, and Theology Project at Oxford shows us that Religion comes naturally, instinctively, and at a very early age to human beings.

The researchers concluded :

…new empirical research is demonstrating that impulses to religion are part of the most basic ways the human mind works. Religion has always been a basic feature of human life and is always likely to be. Atheism is as sophisticated a response to this fact as any theology. Which is right cannot be settled by empirical discovery, but religion cannot be dismissed as the private preoccupation of a few. Religious responses to the world, right or wrong, are part of what it is to be human.

Response: So religion is “a basic feature of human life…part of what it is to be human”? This is something that humans have known for thousands of years. Dozens of anthropological studies from the early 20th century made similar conclusions. But religion was an accepted part of life in Western nations in the first half of the last century. 

Now we live in times in which some academics are trying to show us reasons why religion should be eliminated entirely from the human experience but this study concludes that religion is “part of what it is to be human” and “has always been a basic feature of human life and is always likely to be.”

From the Christian perspective, religious instincts are a natural part of creation but not all religions are equal. Some are more beneficial for humanity than others and some may even be down right harmful.              *Top

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