The vast majority of human beings have always believed in
God. From the most ancient civilizations to the most primitive of modern
societies, religions with God at their center have formed the foundation of
human culture. In fact, the denial of God’s existence (atheism) throughout
history was limited to a few individuals until the rise of communism in the
20th century. Even today, in the secular societies of the West, where modern
social scientists armed with Darwinian theories have argued that God is merely
a figment of the human collective imagination, the overwhelming majority of
citizens, laymen and even scientists, hold steadfast to their belief in God.
Consequently, the overwhelming body of archeological
data in support of God’s existence has led some anthropologists to conclude
that belief in God (deism) must be inborn and not learnt. Although the vast
majority of social scientists proposed otherwise, recent scientific discoveries
appear to support the minority view that deism is innate. In an article
entitled “God Spot is found in the Brain,” Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran of the University of Ca lifornia at San Diego said that the phenomenon of religious belief in God is
hardwired into the brain.
‘God Spot’ is Found in Brain
by Steve Connor
believe they have discovered a “God module” in the brain, which could be responsible
for man’s evolutionary instinct to believe in religion.
study of epileptics, who are known to have profoundly spiritual experiences,
has located a circuit of nerves in the front of the brain, which appears to
become electrically active when they think about God.
scientists said that although the research and its conclusions are
preliminary, initial results suggest that the phenomenon of religious belief is
“hardwired” into the brain.
patients who suffer from seizures of the brain’s frontal lobe said they
frequently experience intense mystical episodes and often become obsessed
with religious spirituality.
team of neuroscientists from the University of California at San Diego said the most intriguing explanation is that the seizure causes an over-stimulation
of the nerves in a part of the brain dubbed the “God module”.
may be dedicated neural machinery in the temporal lobes concerned with
religion. This may have evolved to impose order and stability on society,”
the team reported at a conference last week.
results indicate that whether a person believes in a religion or even in GOD
may depend on how enhanced this part of the brain’s electrical circuitry is.
Vilayanur Ramachandran, head of the research team, said the study involved
comparing epileptic patients with normal people and a group who said they
were intensely religious.
monitors on their skin – a standard test for activity in the brains temporal
lobes – showed that the epileptics and the deeply religious displayed a
similar response when shown words invoking spiritual belief.
scientists have suggested that belief in God, which is a common trait, found
in human societies around the world and throughout history, may be built into
the brain’s complex electrical circuitry as a Darwinian adaptation to
encourage cooperation between individuals.
the research is correct and a “God module” exists, then it might suggest that
individuals who are atheists could have a differently configured neural
spokesman for Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, said whether there is a
“God module” is a question for scientists, not theologians. “It would not be
surprising if God had created us with a physical facility for belief,” he
Despite growing evidence that man is hardwired with a
“physical facility for belief,” the fact that the concept of God has varied
greatly among human societies still leads some thinkers, even those who believe
in God, to conclude that religions must be manmade. However, thorough research
reveals a common theological thread linking the various religions. That link
is the belief in a Supreme Being among the various gods, a monotheistic
foundation that can be found in even the most externally pantheistic of religious
systems. For example, the concept of God in Hinduism exists as a single
example among many religions, which supports the view that human beings were
originally monotheistic and through various degenerative processes became
polytheistic. In spite of its many gods and idols, Hinduism has a single Supreme
God above all, Brahman.
Traditionally, most anthropologists have concluded that
religion devolved from various stages of polytheism to monotheism, beginning
with early man’s deification of the forces of nature, then, eventually,
devolving into ditheism to consolidate all of the supernatural powers into two
main gods (a god of good and a god of evil), and, finally, simplifying into a
belief in one god, monotheism.
Thus, religion, according to anthropologists and social
scientists, has no divine origin; it is merely a byproduct of the evolution of
early man’s superstitions, based on his lack of scientific knowledge. Hence,
these same theoreticians believe that science will eventually unlock all of the
secrets of nature, resulting in the disuse of religion to explain natural
phenomena, and, the consequential extinction of religion altogether.
Man’s innate belief in a Supreme Being, however, seems
to support the opposite view, proposing instead that man began as a monotheist,
but in time, strayed into various forms of polytheism. This view is further
supported by fact that all of the so-called primitive tribes, which have been
“discovered,” have been found to hold a belief in a Supreme Being. No matter
what their evolutionary stage of religious development is found to have been at
the time of “discovery,” most were found to believe in a Supreme God over all
other gods and spirits. As such, the concept of a single Supreme Being remains
in most of the religion’s as evidence that the masses strayed away from
monotheism by giving some of God’s attributes to other aspects of creation,
which eventually came to be regarded as lesser gods in some cases and as
intercessors in others. Nevertheless, a Supreme God, in whatever form He
takes, is at the core of most religions.