Researchers study believing in God

February 19, 2008 8:48:55 AM PST
University of Oxford researchers will spend nearly $4 million to study why mankind embraces God.The grant to the Ian Ramsey Center for Science and Religion will bring anthropologists, theologians, philosophers and other academics together for three years to study whether belief in a divine being is a basic part of mankind's makeup.

"There are a lot of issues. What is it that is innate in human nature to believe in God, whether it is gods or something superhuman or supernatural?" said Roger Trigg, acting director of the center.

He said anthropological and philosophical research suggests that faith in God is a universal human impulse found in most cultures around the world, even though it has been waning in Britain and western Europe.

"One implication that comes from this is that religion is the default position, and atheism is perhaps more in need of explanation," he said.

The study will be funded by the John Templeton Foundation, a U.S.-based philanthropic organization that funds wide-ranging research into questions that deal with the laws of nature and issues of spirituality.

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