When I was a kid, my Sunday School teachers told me that one day Jesus would knock on the door of my heart. When that happened, I could open the door and Jesus would move in. As an adult in the church, I often hear references to a “God-shaped hole in our hearts.” The idea is that all people have an innate longing for a relationship with God.
Of course, we’re speaking poetically when we talk about our hearts—our hearts are really just pumps at the center of our circulatory system. The real seat of our thoughts, dreams and feelings is our brains. So is there scientific merit to this idea of our ingrained desire to commune with a higher being? Are our brains wired for God?
Researchers at the University of Oxford decided to test the idea. They conducted a massive series of experiments across cultures and continents to see if humans are inherently dualistic. Dualism is the belief that there are unseen, immaterial forces at work in the material reality we see every day.
These experiments found that children believe both their mothers and God to be all knowing. Mom loses her omniscience as a child’s brain develops, but God does not. This is true even for Children raised in non-religious households, and in less religious cultures.
This predisposition doesn’t end with childhood. Adults across cultures overwhelmingly believe in some form of life after death. This is true in eastern and western cultures, developed and developing nations, and in religious and secular societies. Most people across cultures have a predisposition toward belief in an all-knowing God and life after death.
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SOURCE: Relevant Magazine
Mike McHargue is a Christian turned atheist turned follower of Christ. He’s a founding member of The Liturgists and is a writes about science and faith at mikemchargue.com. @mikemchargue.