KresslPsychology 101Professor AranoffDecember 25, 2008Natural Spiritual Tendencies
It is known that genome accounts for much, if not most, of all the physical, emotional, and psychological characteristics found in humans; humans musical abilities, high intelligence, bipedal form, and advanced language skills, to name a few. However, as discoveries keep on being discovered, researchers present a new (and quite daring) addition to the influences of the genome-a religious affinity.
A genetic predisposition to hold religious ideas would explain a lot. It was always a wonder how in every single culture throughout the ages, humans have always drifted towards a belief in religion. Even, as displayed in the archaeological record, spiritual rites, such as convoluted burial procedures, were common in the Paleolithic and probably also in the Neanderthals (Trinkhaus & Shipman 1993). If there were, however, some human biological tendency to believe in the spiritual dimension, then that phenomenon would not be a wonder, but something only natural.
The mentioned spiritual beliefs would only refer to some general beliefs. While there are too many different religious sects to count, they all have the same foundation. They all are based on one set of basic points and then each specific sect will then expand on them in their own way. So while Hinduism might seem nothing like Scientology and Judaism nothing like Mormonism, a closer look would show otherwise.
These foundational beliefs would include representations of non-physical agents such as ghosts, ghouls, angles, witches, spirits, and of course, gods. This would then mean that each religion would have this, but Judaism would specifically have an angelNatural Spiritual Tendencies 3named Gabriel, and the Egyptians would specifically have a sun that was a god. Another belief shared by all religions is ritual practices meant to call upon those non-physical agents. All religions will incorporate this, but Judaism will have the blowing of a rams horn to arouse fear, and the Mayan would bring a human sacrifice to appease their gods (Sperber 1996). These and many others illustrate how there is one common denominator in all religions, but they are each developed in their own unique way.
These foundational beliefs do not have to be culturally transmitted for them to stay alive; they will show up anytime and anywhere. In contrast, though, specific beliefs, such as the revelation at Mt. Sinai or Jesus being the holy son, will only spread through cultural means. Lindon Eaves and Nicholas Martin, while conducting classical twin studies, found this to be true; the individuals specific religious belief depended only on the environment in which they were raised. They would, nevertheless, still each hold the same general beliefs. (1999)Cognitive scientists generally agree that religion is somehow biologically programmed in humans. They disagree, though, as to whether this tendency is one evolved in it of itself or merely...