Researchers from Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind have found evidence that children are predisposed to believe in God or a supreme being. This is because of a natural assumption that everything in the world exists for a purpose and was therefore created.
Dr Justin Barrett was reported in the UKs Daily Telegraph as saying that young children appear to have an inherent faith even when it has not been taught to them by family or school. Even children raised on a desert island without any external infuence would start out with a belief in God.
Commenting on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said
“The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children’s minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose…if we threw a handful on an island and they raised themselves I think they would believe in God.”
At a lecture at Cambridge University’s Faraday Institute, Barrett cited psychological experiments carried out on children that reveal an instinctive belief in children towards acceptance of design and purpose. This leads to a natural belief in creation rather than evolution, even when they are told differently by parents or teachers. Anthropologists have found that in some cultures children accept belief in God even when specific religious teaching is withheld. He commented;
“Children’s normally and naturally developing minds make them prone to believe in divine creation and intelligent design. In contrast, evolution is unnatural for human minds; relatively difficult to believe.”