LONDON (AP) - University of Oxford researchers will spend nearly $4 million to study why mankind embraces God. The grant to the Ian Ramsey Center for Science and Religion will bring anthropologists, theologians, philosophers and other academics together for three years to study whether belief in a divine being is a basic part of mankind's makeup.
"There are a lot of issues. What is it that is innate in human nature to believe in God, whether it is gods or something superhuman or supernatural?" said Roger Trigg, acting director of the center.
He said anthropological and philosophical research 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....
This is something Natural Evolution can never explain. Why does Man need to worship something. As a Christian the answer is simple we are made in the image of God and the Fall of Adam has made us of distant from God. Our ability to worship is marred and we will worship anything and everything until we are BORN AGAIN in Christ.
I don't have time to loiter at foundations, but maybe it's the old Colonial Complex: "They Do Things Better in Europe." Author Tom Wolfe wrote about that hilariously in his "From Bauhaus to Our House": "The White Gods, here at last!" (satirizing the American welcome to German architects Walter Gropius & Mies van der Rohe).
At least it'll stem the "Brain Drain." Come to think of it, maybe that's the idea!
"The study will be funded by the John Templeton Foundation, a U.S.- based philanthropic organization that funds wide-ranging research into questions that deal with the laws of nature and issues of spirituality."
Now come on you Americans, own up, why do you want a bunch of Brits to study faith for you?
When they are finished the study, they'll stick it in a book and it will be the diffinitive work on "how to" faith. From a human perspective!
Neil wrote: I thought they've already "answered" this one: the evolutionary need for collective survival.
For only $4MM, that's probably the answer those "wise and learned men" will come up with ... again. What they REALLY need, is a grant for ... oh ... $40 BILLION in order to find (small "g") god! That might do the trick.
Neil wrote: Phil is right; Oxford may as well hunt Snarks. Nature reveals no laws.
But what nature does reveal is: "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" (Rom 1:20 KJV) Problem is, these have to admit to a Creator FIRST, and proceed from there. You can't start from the contingencies and go backwards.
Paul makes it crystal clear: men have knowledge of the existence of God -- a priori -- but suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
Like Steve Martin put it, "talking about music is like dancing about architecture."
The same holds good for this nonsense--it makes no sense. Religious convictions can be comprehended only by being held and lived, not studied like lab animals. You can no more academically "study" conversion to God than you can dance about architecture.
I just find this almost hilarious (well... hilarious if it weren't a bit tragic). In all seriousness though, if you need to spend $4m to learn what it is about God that is worth embracing, that is indeed a tragic state of affairs to be in.
One sees in this how astoundingly correct Scripture is concerning the human condition. What is wisdom to the converted is foolishness or something to puzzle over for the unconverted (especially the academic unconverted). Unconverted man in his fallen state has a veil over his eyes such that spiritual truths which could not be more obvious or palpable to the converted are, for the unconverted, preplexing and intangible--the natural in us wants to demand that there must be SOME way we can quantify and define and so on and so forth, but the mystery of grace, the removal of that veil, the transformation of the person by God's hands has no regard for such vain fleshly academic attempts.