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Could religion be genetic and not a choice for some?

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posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 02:20 AM
Could it be that whether to be religious or even to strongly cling to a belief is genetic, at least in part? A lot of people in society are nominally religious, atheist, agnostic or political, but mostly float between positions or tend not to care about it too much, or don't take breaking the odd commandment seriously. But, the true religious personality stands out, and borders on the fanatic.
The type of religion may be a choice or imposed, but the tendency for religious thinking is ubiquitous. In fact, atheists have long argued that religious affiliation is an accident of birth, and that for example, Christian/Muslim fanatics are interchangeable personality types. Where the not so religiously inclined are forced to live by the dictates of fanatics, they pretend to follow the stream out of fear.
It seems the fanatics sometimes change religion, and are then as fanatical as before.
So it seems that most people experiment with religion and its degrees of fanaticism. But some are truely born to it.
If such a gene exists, then why would it have evolved?

[edit on 1-4-2010 by halfoldman]

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 04:11 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

Below is an article from New Scientist (2005). It draws attention to studies done on twins. While religion was thought to have been "nurture", the inclination to be overtly religious is now seen as partly genetic. In non-religious people the nurture influence wanes after the confines of childhood, while those with a religious gene remain so through-out life.
Quite amazingly this has been confirmed by other studies, and the findings seem slightly more conclusive than those on gay causation studies, for example.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by halfoldman]

[edit on 1-4-2010 by halfoldman]

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 11:46 AM
ahhh science, much like religion at times. I am told time after time that religion was "invented" in primitive cultures to explain natural occurances that man at the time could not explain, so religion was made up to fill some knowledge gap. "It did not rain this year and our crops did not grow because we did not sacrafice enough to the gods, yeah that's it"
So now we have people wondering why do people choose to take up religion. What better way than to make something up.
"People take up religion, because of this elusive religion gene, who knows it may be right next to the selfish gene".
When we made airplanes, space craft and dug deep mines people found there was no heaven in the sky or hell below ground but they still believe and keep searching.
Still no common ancestor found and none of these genes found, but still lets believe it and keep searching.

People have free will i believe us to have a mind body and spirit. Man is not just some stimulus–response machine. This whole idea of religion being genetic is just a made up explanation of why someone thinks differently than you. Fanatics are fanatics it can be religion, atheisim or alcohol.

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 12:36 PM
I believe as a Christian that all Men & Nature was designed to know a God.

Man Created for the purpose of Knowing and Communing with God

Genesis 1:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;

God Created man with the intention of having a relationship with him and to know the living God with all of his being.

Revelation 4:11

You are worthy, our Lord and God
to receive glory, honor, and dominion
for you created all things.
For your pleasure they came into being
and continue to exist.

A. Ephesians 1:5,9

he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure & will ... And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ

John 3:16 (New King James Version)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Creation Groans & Cries out to God

Romans 8: 22

22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Luke 19:40 (King James Version)

40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

*It is designed into Nature that there is a Living God and it Groans for redemption and if men don't praise God the Rocks and the Trees will. God purposed Humanity to know him and to have a relationship with him from the very beginning. Man rebelled against God and became the servants of Sin taking on the nature of their father Satan seperated from God becoming Enemies to the Lord. Because God loved us so much he prepared a way to restore mankind back to his orginal state so that man could live in rightstanding. Ever since the fall, man was missing the "God" element in their lives and was searchind and searching for a way to fulfill that desire. its said that there is a God Shaped Hole in everyone that left unfilled will cause man to seek and desire to fill it with anything that can cause any type of satisfaction but, the only satisfaction that fills it is having a restored relationship with the one who made you and loves you. So to answer your question yes we were Genetically created to know a living God in our Spirit, Soul (mind), & Body.

The reason there are so many different religions is because of several different reasons. One reason is man's search for God causes them to invent their own God in order to fullfill that wanting. the Second is the Battle for Souls. Wicked spirits, Demons, and Fallen Angelic Beings wage war against God and the control of this world in which man is in the middle of. The Enemy of God has put it in the mind of men to create different Religions to deter them from knowing the real true living God. Thirdly Satan himself wants to be God, his original sin was wanting to lift up his thrown above God's and become God himself. Satan wants worship and lordship over all man and creation and has established religions under many different deities but all leading to the same person which is Satan to fullfill his desire to rule and conquer all creation.

One of the greatest manifestations of that in the real world was through Adolf Hitler who's hunger was driven through demonic wickedness to conquer the world and wipe out Gods Chosen people (The Jews) and create a one world religion & government under him. History will repeat itself in the last days under the anti-christ which will seek to rule the world and establish himself as God.


posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 09:17 PM

Originally posted by halfoldman
But, the true religious personality stands out, and borders on the fanatic.

Judgemental much? How determine you what is a 'true religous personality' and what connection have you with what can be defined absolutely as fanaticism? Do I have a 'true religious personality? How could you tell? Am I a fanatic? How would you know?

Originally posted by halfoldman
If such a gene exists, then why would it have evolved?

Assumption is made here that the affiinity for religion is evolutionary based, which is compounded on the premises that evolution as we understand it is correct. The good news is the human genome has been mapped. I've heard no reports of a 'religion gene'. Perhaps if we took the hypothesis one step at a time, we could answer a lot of these questions along the way.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by saint4God]

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 09:31 PM
Do you really mean "religion"? Or did you mean to imply "spirituality"?

I do not take other peoples WORD as the truth, thus I am officially agnostic, but it would be hard to deny that something intelligent is hiding behind all this.

I consider myself one of those nature geeks, a GAIA worshiper, and very spiritual, but religion, that's entirely something else. I mean, there are over 4000 active religions practicing on this planet today, each with their own (conflicting) version of spirituality. Which of the 4000 are correct? At most, only one can be true while the rest are a lie. But if you ask me, I think they are all a lie.

If there is an intelligent designer behind all this, I don't think one needs to go to a church to get into contact with that intelligence.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by Divinorumus]

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 09:47 PM
Its called constantly being brung to church by your parents at such a young age, when you cannot think for yourself, and parents who insist their child MUST follow their religion. Its hardwired into your brain now, not your DNA.

It seems like its already too late for many people. No offense.

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 10:02 PM

Originally posted by Senz20
Its called constantly being brung to church by your parents at such a young age, when you cannot think for yourself, and parents who insist their child MUST follow their religion. Its hardwired into your brain now, not your DNA.

It seems like its already too late for many people. No offense.

This was not the case for me. I did not grow up going to church by my parents nor were they Christian. I began attending church after a rather stupid dabble in 'stuff I should not have messed with' and rescued by God. Church was the last step, not the first. I suppose my life is a strike against the hypothesis of genetics, environmental influences and/or church as being the root cause.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by saint4God]

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 10:15 PM
reply to post by halfoldman

Religions usually have a unique blend of supernatural fiction and practical moral information or societal guidelines and likely developed as a way for civilizations to stay together. You know how they say the family that prays together stays together and that it takes a village to raise a child. We humans are a communal species and so its likely that religion developed to help with the unity, a way to coalesce the community.

So part of it is genetic, I guess, but I don't think predilection for one faith versus another is and I do think that as we gain a better grasp on nature and science the need for these ancient belief systems will be greatly reduced. Even now you see that most believers in a given faith are only going through the motions and don't even attach a sense of deep spiritualism to their faith anymore.

Like most things with us I think religion is a good mix of both nature and nurture.

We also have to remember that for more than 150,000 years we had no complex written language, so their is a lot of missing time for our species when we really aren't sure what was happening. The development of language, religion and civilization in general are shrouded in mystery.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by Titen-Sxull]

posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 10:22 PM
I don't see how a person's belief system could be genetic in anyway. Beliefs are formed in conjunction of several different variables: childhood upbringing, cultural environment, personal experiences, education, etc.

Genetics doesn't play a role. It's a classic case of apples and muscle cars. Completely unrelated.

posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 12:53 PM
reply to post by saint4God

Scientists (who largely embrace evolution as truth by a general consensus) have looked into this topic, so it is not a personal judgement from myself. Much of the debate was sparked by the geneticist Dean H. Hamer's book: "The God Gene: How faith is hardwired into our genes". Then there is also the twin study mentioned in my second post above from the University of Minnesota.
The findings are not as judgemental as they at may seem at first, and the authors admit to spiritual practices.
For me a "fanatic" would be someone who takes religion to negative extremes, and is not beyond being annoying in trying to convert people with every sentence, or in the worst case will even use violence.
Some people border on that and I think most people have encountered them. Since religion is also good business because money is involved, it is sometimes difficult to tell who is the sincere religious personality, and who is pretending.
As a recognizable stereoyype of the sincere personality Ned Flanders is a good example (from The Simpsons). He phones up Rev Lovejoy at all hours for divine commands on the most trivial things. The Rev is hardly as enthusiastic, and eventually gets so irritated that he tells Ned to try another religion: "They're all pretty similar, you know".
Hamer suggests that spiritual practises like worship, meditation or prayer lower the chemicals that produce anxiety.
I think that's a valuable suggestion. In evolution we needed panic reactions to survive, and one possible reason that anxiety is now so high is that the most quick-witted, cautious people survived to pass on the "panic" genes. So now we have a generation that suffers from constant anxiety and panic for no direct external reason. Spriritual practices are one way of reducing that anxiety and balancing out the chemicals. So nowadays "spirituality" is gaining in popularity (rather than dogma), even within the different faiths.
Religion also has other functions, such as uniting people into "in-group" thinking, which could be positive or negative.
So although these traits are hardwired into all of us, it would not be surprising if in some individuals that gene (or collection of genes) becomes exagerrated.
On Hamer's book, see:

[edit on 2-4-2010 by halfoldman]

posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 12:56 PM
Ahhhhhhhhh - now that's an interesting question.

Simple answer: you have the experience you designed.

posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 01:05 PM

Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
You know how they say the family that prays together stays together and that it takes a village to raise a child.

I'm starting to think that is totally wrong. I mean, praying never got me anywhere. It was ME that had to respond to my own prayer requests in order to fulfill them. And this village thang, that could lead to trouble too. "Hey, I don't have to be independent and totally self-sufficient and self-reliant, I got my neighbors to lean on." Dump prayer and forget about the village. Prayer never works, and the village has become monetarily and morally bankrupt. I wouldn't want the village I'm living in now to raise my kids if I had any living at home still. I think I'll stick to being my own god and village, thank you.

[edit on 2-4-2010 by Divinorumus]

posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 03:35 PM
reply to post by Divinorumus

I meant in the context of early humanity. When civilizations were just getting started religion likely played a big role in keeping the community together and human beings are communal animals. As mammals who can only reproduce every 9 months (and usually one baby at a time) we have a disadvantage to animals who lay eggs or who birth in litters, that disadvantage is made up for by having nurturing instincts in parents, however there is an additional benefit if its not just the parents but an entire community working together to raise the young.

Of course now-a-days the sense of community is lost in a lot of places (thanks to urbanization and fear mongering people are afraid of their neighbors) and I agree with what you're saying about prayer. We've become detached from our roots as a species. Deep down we are social animals and religion plays a big part in that.

posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 03:41 PM
The need to seek our maker is genetic,the formation of religons and groups in general is a natural action designed to fulfill a need ,a social and psycological set of needs.

The bastardization of organised religons as we know them is and has been criminal in nature and will soon be rectified by the coming young generation which has no problem placing blame and implementing change immediatly,the boomer generation raised their own judges and empowered them with the ability to judge and change quickly and finately.

Religon is destroying our world today because it has gone stale,it will heal itself you can be sure,we need it in the future as we have needed it in the past,BUT WE WILL NEVER AGAIN NEED IT AS IT IS TODAY.

The clock is ticking on all of the weak users who have been hiding out in organised religons,most will expire of old age but many will answer for their actions.And the new generation can take over and salvage our faith in organised religon.

posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 04:17 PM
reply to post by halfoldman
Although people can change or abandon that religious affiliation, they cannot rid themselves of the genetic propensity to be spiritual. But people can build on and develop that innate spirituality through meditation, prayer and creative arts such as music and painting. These practices can be done inside or outside organized religion, he said.

Hamer said he has received numerous comments from people who say that the dichotomy of spirituality and religion makes sense. "I always knew this, that I was inclined to be spiritual, even though I've always had a problem with religion," they tell him.

I agree with your theory that some, "from their mother's womb" have a predisposition toward the spiritual. 100% present in every shamanic tradition, very much present in Hebrew tradition, as in every prophet described this way, also apostle Paul, John the Baptist. Jesus virgin birth story takes it to an extreme.

These are the people who, within a religious tradition become reformers, sometimes quite radical iconoclasts and fanatics, some quite destructive. The impulse to reach out to and 'serve' the higher, be it God, some god, or even some amorphous concept of god, does not go away with age, or increase in knowledge.

Communities that know what they're dealing with when confronted by such people, give them no position of authority until age 40, to determine whether they tend toward helping society or destroying. As case in point, take Jesus for example. Started his ministry at age 30. By that age, he had discovered that love and care of all people was more important than many aspects of the religious tradition he was raised in. It is also obvious that he never got completely free of certain religio/racial prejudices. I'm quite convinced that if Jesus had started his public ministry 10 or 15 years later, what we know as Christianity would have been radically different and much better from what we see today.

It is not a matter of choice for some. The choice comes in what to do with the drive. Actually, sometimes that isn't a choice either for an individual forced by family or society into only one version of "truth". In which case the results can be quite catastrophic. Suspending judgment while awaiting and weighing other perspectives seems a wise course.

Because of the intimate and emediate nature of Jesus' connection with the Father, his views of 'last day' events were also immediate, as in, 'this won't happen way off in the future, but tomorrow, or next week, couple of years at most.' This is the prime difference between Christian eschatology and the eschatologies of other religions.

For those under 40, I remind you, though personally you feel yourself inflamed and exerting yourselves to near emotional and physical destruction in an attempt to 'wake people up', historically, much energy is expended in order for slight progress among the people at large. It's nothing new, many have been there before. Take heart! Be gentle, be patient, be brave.

Addition: There is a path known as Kingly, or of the Warrior. This is most often considered the easiest path. People such as Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Joan of Arc fit this category. My own religion is very closely linked to that of Genghis Khan. That Kingly Way of the Warrior may be easiest in terms of massiveness of impact; yet I'm hard pressed to see how spiritual discourse was advanced by Genghis Khan. Be careful who you urge to pursue this path.

Addition 2: I recall a genetic study I read some time ago about the prolific spread of genes traced back to Genghis Khan. Quite the breeder it turns out. And he spread his genes across two continents. It strikes me now as quite interesting that the resurgence of Mongolian type shamanism seems to be in direct relationship to quantity of Khan genes in the local gene pools. Tengri works in mysterious ways.

[edit on 2-4-2010 by pthena]

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 07:07 AM

Originally posted by halfoldman
Scientists (who largely embrace evolution as truth by a general consensus) have looked into this topic,

Phlogiston. Democracy doesn't dictate truth. This topic was neither part of my Biology degree nor part of my daily work as a biochemist. Be careful with what is assumed that all scientists think.

Originally posted by halfoldman
For me a "fanatic" would be...

Ah, so this is subjective as it originally sounded.

Originally posted by halfoldman
As a recognizable stereoyype...


[edit on 5-4-2010 by saint4God]

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 08:05 AM

people are just to lazy to really study our world

they just dont give a $%6

posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 08:59 AM

Originally posted by maria_stardust
I don't see how a person's belief system could be genetic in anyway. Beliefs are formed in conjunction of several different variables: childhood upbringing, cultural environment, personal experiences, education, etc.
Genetics doesn't play a role. It's a classic case of apples and muscle cars. Completely unrelated.

That would apply to a particular belief system, but in my humble uneducated opinion, I think humans are hard wired for spirituality and as a front porch philosopher, I think that spirituality tends to take the form one gives it.

It's a sure thing that there are things going on around us of which we are only dimly aware. To anthopomorphise them as a great paternalistic figure...or kinda questionable.

So...we need to differentiate between religion and spirituality to adequately discuss this irrational subject in a rational manner.

posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 09:41 AM
I do believe that we are hard wired, in my opinion to know God, not necessarily into a particular faith. Although, I'm going to slightly contradict myself here, because I remember being around 4 or 5 years old lying in bed trying to fall asleep and thinking about different religions I didn't know anything particular about them other than names (and I don't recall how I knew so many names) but I remember wanting to be Catholic because I liked how it sounded, the name for whatever reason appealed to me.

Now, as it turns out my mother was the type to claim Catholicism as her religion, but she didn't practice it, my biological father was the same in both ways, my step father an atheist. Yes, we celebrated Christmas and Easter, but in the purely materialistic way. When I was 6 my mother enrolled me in CCD, at the behest of my grandparents which I loved. We almost never went to mass, unless I asked to go then my mother would bring me.

I wonder though, I have two step siblings one is a staunch atheist, to the point that while we flip through t.v. programs, if we come across a religious program she freaks out. The other is simply confused, he just doesn't know what to believe, he believes in the possibility of God but is waiting to make a final decision.

I wonder if the fact we have different fathers plays a role. This wasn't a nurture thing, we were all raised the exact same, I had only seen my actual father 3 times or so, he had zero impact on my upbringing. So, it is curious to me how I would end up extremely religious, and my siblings the complete opposite, perhaps there is genetic component.

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