The cover story from the February 7, 2009 issue of New Scientist was Michael Brooks’ “Born believers: How your brain creates God”—a story full of references to scientists studying the naturalness of religious beliefs, particularly in children. The article ends with this: “Would a group of children raised in isolation spontaneously create their own religious beliefs? ‘I think the answer is yes,’ says Bloom” (Brooks, 2009, p. 33). Paul Bloom, whom Brooks quotes, is no crank or marginal scholarly figure: he is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University, and the author of many books and over 100 articles, including his 2007 article in Developmental Science, “Religion is Natural.”
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As Todd Dubose points out in the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion (2014), a long list of scholars have proposed the idea that human existence is inherently religious, including Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831), Soren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), William James (1842–1910), Mircea Eliade (1907–1986), Rudolf Otto (1884–1939), Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), Gerardus van der Leeuw (1890–1950), Karl Jaspers (1883–1969), Paul Tillich (1886–1995), Erich Fromm (1900–1980), Abraham Maslow (1908–1970), Erik Erikson (1902–1994), Langdon Gilkey (1919–2004), and David Tracy (1939–).
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Barrett, J.L., Hornbeck, R.G. (2017). Introduction: Homo Religiosus and the Dragon. In: Hornbeck, R., Barrett, J., Kang, M. (eds) Religious Cognition in China. New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion , vol 2. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62954-4_1
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