I’ve long been interested in how natural dispositions, both mental and physical, incline one towards or away from religion. By ‘religion’ I don’t merely mean formal religion but I mean that type of mindset one would call religious. People can be religious about a whole host of things including sports, the environment, money, sex, and of course theistic systems involving belief in God and an afterlife. While it seems trivially true that most humans are religious about something when defined in the broad sense, I have been exploring the idea that there is a “type” of religious inclination that disposes people towards formal religious expression as expressed by the worlds religions in the narrow sense.
In an interesting article on Epiphenom, Tomas Rees looks at a study by John Sasaki involving religious priming in order to see if certain genetic traits have an correlation to certain types of religious behaviors after being primed with religious ideas. Rees concludes:
“All this goes to show that the relationship between genetics and religion is not at all straightforward. This particular gene variant seems to make people more susceptible to environmental influences – whether religious or otherwise.”
This science is fairly young but I expect it will be a growing area of study and one that will fascinating to follow.