Humans are predisposed to believe in gods

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Researchers have found evidence that humans are predisposed to believe in gods, sometimes expressed as people being "hard wired" to believe in God. There is also evidence that people are predisposed to believe in life after death. [1] This is caused by the many cognitive biases of humans.

"Atheism will always be a harder sell than religion [...] because a slew of cognitive traits predispose us to faith. [...] we now know that all versions of religion are based on very similar tacit assumptions, and that all it takes to imagine supernatural agents are normal human minds processing information in the most natural way. [2]"

One of the major cognitive biases involved in the belief in God is dualism bias, in which the body and mind are considered to be independent.

Theists point out that just because people have cognitive biases, this does not imply god does not exist.

"Why would it follow that there would be no God if human beings are hardwired to believe in him? [3]"


God did it?

One possible explanation is the God predisposed people to believe in God or gave humans a faculty to gain spiritual knowledge. This view is known as the argument from the origin of the idea of God. There are significant because there are other explanations that have not been ruled out, making it an argument from ignorance.

A related argument is the argument from desire, which claims that God created humans with a desire for the divine, which implies the existence of God.

"Atheists do not exist"

Some researchers have argued that the tacit assumptions upon which religion are based are so ingrained in the human brain that they are impossible to eradicate. Not only does this make humans predisposed to belief in gods, it makes atheism, in a sense, impossible.

"there are eternal truths that can be avoided for a time but not ultimately denied. The truth is that there are no such things as atheists. [4]"

While most or all self-proclaimed atheists retain some superstitious, false beliefs and biases, they have no conscious belief in the existence of gods. Many arrive at this non-belief after careful consideration. To claim that atheists do not exist may be interpreted as hyperbole. However, the statement is false if interpreted literally.

Belief is natural

Theists have claimed that: [5]

"In a real sense, religiousness is the natural state of affairs. Unbelief is relatively unusual and unnatural."

While this is in a sense true, we must be careful not to treat religiousness as a preferential state which would commit the naturalistic fallacy.

No specific religion

While there is plenty of evidence for a predisposition for belief in gods, this does not show that a specific religion has been hard wired into the human brain.

Naturalistic explanations

There are several theories that explain the human predisposition to believe in Gods:

See also


  1. Humans 'predisposed' to believe in gods and the afterlife
  2. Boyer, P (2008) Religion: Bound to Believe?] Nature vol 455: 1038-39.
  3. Joe Puckett, Jr., The Apologetics of Joy: A Case for the Existence of God from C.S. Lewis's Argument from Joy, 2013
  4. [1]
  5. [2]
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