“Oh, I’ve always been a Christian/Jew/Hindu/Muslim/whatever.”
We’ve all heard people say something like that, though they don’t necessarily mean it literally. They likely just mean, “This is how I grew up, and it’s all I remember.”
Turns out that less literal meaning—“this is how I grew up”—is probably closer to the truth, if “how I grew up” means one’s upbringing and/or outside influences.
New research from Coventry University’s Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science and neuroscientists and philosophers at Oxford University found no link between intuitive or analytical thinking and supernatural beliefs. Their findings dispute previous research that implied that religious people are more intuitive and less analytical.
The research was conducted with pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.
“What drives our belief in gods—intuition or reason; heart or head?” asked lead author Miguel Farias. “Our studies have challenged the theory that being a religious believer is determined by how much individuals rely on intuitive or analytical thinking.
“We don’t think people are ‘born believers’ in the same way we inevitably learn a language at an early age. . . . Religious belief is most likely rooted in culture rather than in some primitive gut intuition.”
Image: Pilgrims on Camino de Santiago