Theism: Nei­ther a child of in­tu­ition nor ra­tio­nal­ity

Millennium Post - - TOWN -

DO YOU be­lieve in God? You will be sur­prised to know that theism can nei­ther be linked to in­tu­ition nor de­fined as a source of ra­tio­nal think­ing.

New re­search says that re­li­gion is a nur­ture-based process and de­vel­ops be­cause of so­cio-cul­tural pro­cesses, in­clud­ing up­bring­ing and ed­u­ca­tion.

The re­search, pub­lished in the jour­nal Sci­en­tific Re­ports, has chal­lenged the age-old no­tion that be­ing a re­li­gious be­liever is de­ter­mined by how much in­di­vid­u­als rely on in­tu­itive or an­a­lyt­i­cal think­ing and noted that it was pre­ma­ture to ex­plain the be­lief in di­vin­ity to be in­tu­itive or nat­u­ral.

“We don’t think peo­ple are ‘born be­liev­ers’ in the same way we in­evitably learn a lan­guage at an early age. The avail­able so­ci­o­log­i­cal and historical data show that what we be­lieve in is mainly based on so­cial and ed­u­ca­tional fac­tors and not on cog­ni­tive styles, such as in­tu­itive or an­a­lyt­i­cal think­ing,” said Miguel Farias, Pro­fes­sor at the Ox­ford Univer­sity.

“Re­li­gious be­lief is most likely rooted in cul­ture rather than in some prim­i­tive gut in­tu­ition.”

The re­searchers in­cluded pil­grims to ex­per­i­ment over a brain stim­u­la­tion ex­per­i­ment. They asked pil­grims about the strength of their be­liefs and the length of time spent on the pil­grim­age and as­sessed their lev­els of in­tu­itive think­ing with a prob­a­bil­ity task, whereby the par­tic­i­pants had to de­cide be­tween a log­i­cal and a ‘gut feel­ing’ choice.

The re­sults found no link be­tween in­tu­itive and an­a­lyt­i­cal think­ing, cog­ni­tive in­hi­bi­tion - an abil­ity to sup­press un­wanted thoughts and ac­tions or su­per­nat­u­ral be­liefs.

In­stead, other fac­tors such as up­bring­ing and so­cio-cul­tural pro­cesses are more likely to play a greater role in re­li­gious be­liefs, the re­searchers said.

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