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Are we hard-wired to believe in God?

Michelangelo's Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel Photo: Bill Read/Flickr/Creative Commons

Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel Photo: Bill Read/Flickr/Creative Commons

According to the Book of Genesis, God created humans in His likeness and image (Genesis 1:26). We were created to manifest in human form the characteristics of God.

Along with this humans were created to connect with God allowing us to communicate and fellowship with our Heavenly Father. This is how God intended our relationship to function at the beginning.

It took a while, but modern researchers are finally admitting what people have known for centuries — humans are hard-wired to believe in God. Not all scientists are convinced this is the case as it does cause some troubling concerns for those embedded in the evolutionary side of the debate.

But nevertheless an increasing number are concluding that humans are built to believe in God.

Charisma recently reported on a round table discussion shown on the National Geographic Channel addressing this very issue.

On the program, Shaheen Lakhan, who holds multiple doctorates, states:

“Psychologists and anthropologists deemed that children left to their own devices would have some conception of God. Some attribute this to our innate sense of detecting patterns in the world (as to discern predators or prey in nature), while others propagate the notion of a ‘supersense’—or a cognitive tendency to infer hidden forces in the world working for good or ill.”

He is not alone. I recently reported on the struggles of a self-professed atheist Elizabeth King. In an article she wrote for the Washington Post entitled, “I am an atheist. So why can’t I shake God,” she discusses her struggle to ‘not believe’ in God.

Despite her atheistic beliefs, King finds herself complaining and even praying to God during difficult times.

She concluded that being an atheist is hard work, and cites the work of Washington University researcher Patrick Boyer who states humans are “hard-wired” to believe in God. In an article he wrote for Nature Magazine, Boyer says that several features of the human brain instinctively support a belief in the Divine.

A controversial article written for Science 2.0 in 2014 came to a similar conclusion. In his article entitled, Scientists discover that Atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke, Nury Vittachi cited the research of several scientists such as atheist Graham Lawton who are similarly concluding that humans instinctively believe in God.

Lawton says, “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think.”  In an article in New Scientist, Lawton writes of studies showing that people who claim to be an atheist will “tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”

Vittachi bluntly adds, “even self-described ‘atheists’ are unable to easily separate themselves from beliefs in the supernatural.”

“Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that it is impossible to stop believing in God,” says Vittachi. The belief in God is so deeply embedded in our psyche we can’t really shake it.

Predictably atheists of all sorts reacted to Vittachi’s article, claiming they were the exception to the rule.

But as U. S. Military Chaplain William Cummings stated in a sermon just before the Battle of Bataan in 1942, “there are no atheists in foxholes.”

In an article in New Scientist, University of British Columbia Psychologist Ara Norenzayan noted one odd anomaly popping up in societies that claim to be largely atheistic. He said that though on one hand they claim to be atheistic, the God urge expresses itself in other unusual ways.

“Even in societies that are majority atheist, you find a lot of paranormal belief,” Norenzayan writes.

A survey of atheists in 2014 revealed a similar contradiction — though they claim not to believe in God because of a lack of scientific evidence, most atheists believe in aliens even though there is no evidence to back that belief.

Much like car manufacturers that stamp the vehicles they create with their logo, God has rubber stamped His creation to instinctively believe in God.

The Apostle Paul addresses this very issue saying that the evidence of God is inside each of us and to deny God we must suppress the truth.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (Romans 1:18-19 NASV)


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