Patricia Hofer

Religious believing is “universal, prevalent, and deep rooted in all cultures.”

“Oh, I’m a very spiritual person. I just don’t much like institutional religion.” How often do we hear that? These people might be surprised to learn that humans are all “very spiritual,” that we’re all drawn to what lies behind the world we live in. Basing its research on 40 studies taken in 20 countries, Oxford University’s “Cognition, Religion, and Theology Project” has determined that religious believing is instinctual or innate to humankind. Religion, as Oxford University professor Roger Trigg described it, is “universal, prevalent, and deep rooted” in all cultures. “We tend to see purpose in the world,” Trigg concluded. “We think that something is there even if you can’t see it.”

That’s because we are something more than this natural world of physical cells and instincts. Just as music is something more than noise or notes. Just as art is something more than paint or pixels. Within us is something more. That’s why human faith can triumph in spite of all the evils stacked against it. That’s why we can shake with laughter in the midst of tragedy and shed tears of glee at the subtlest irony or the most obvious pratfall. We all share in an unseen spiritual melody because God’s spirit is in every human heart. … And aren’t we glad. (Chapter 17, Living Large)

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