A group of researchers from the University of Oxford will spend $3.9 million on a three-year study to “explain” why humanity believes in God.
The Ian Ramsey Center for Science and Religion has decided to bring together anthropologists, theologians, philosophers and other scholars to academically define if belief in a “supreme being” is a basic component of humanity.
Roger Trigg, a senior research fellow at the Center, said the almost $4 million would be used to respond to the question, “What is it that is innate in human nature to believe in God, whether it is gods or something superhuman or supernatural?"
Trigg admitted that anthropological and philosophical research carried out up to now suggests that “faith in God is a universal human impulse found in most cultures around the world, even though it has been waning in Britain and western Europe.
"One implication that comes from this is that religion is the default position, and atheism is perhaps more in need of explanation," he said.
Funding for the study will come from the John Templeton Foundation, a U.S.-based philanthropic organization.