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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Humans are Biologically Hardwired to Believe in the Christian God

romans 1-19

We are hardwired for [the Christian] God. We don’t need secular scientists to tell us that. It is life events, adults, and choosing unbelief that beats natural faith out of kids. Teaching them about Jesus isn’t jamming it down their throats. It is supporting a natural, hardwired tendency that already exists in them. To get a child NOT to believe what they already believe it takes hard work and years of indoctrination.

If we are hardwired for God then how did that happen if, as evolutionists say, we emerged from the primordial soup as a one-celled unthinking organism? Did evolution occur that included cognitive acceptance of a higher being? If evolution is true then that would have to be the case since all cultures worship greater beings in the supernatural realm.

But alas, we did not evolve to become cognitively hardwired for God. As children intuitively know, God created us and planted within us a seeking to know Him, because God desires to know us. He desires a relationship with His greatest creation: humans.

— Elizabeth Prata, The End Time, Hardwired for God, April 21, 2022


Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    As a teen, I had such a hard time with these verses. They were explained at my church as being a reason why Hindus in India or Muslims in Iran would be held accountable at Judgment day and would be condemned to hell – because nature itself points to God. And….it was important for us to spread the news to Jesus to the rest of the world. I couldn’t square why a good Muslim person who was kind to others should be condemned to hell for eternity if they had never had the opportunity to learn of Jesus and accept him as their personal lord and savior. I couldn’t see how in the world anyone looking at nature would ever come up with the notion that we are all sinners in need to accepting the son of God who was also God himself dying and resurrecting for our sins. No way. It really bothered me, and no Sunday school teachers or my family or pastors could give me an acceptable answer.

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    Benny S

    Kind of piggybacking off Obstaclechick above: If we are hardwired for [the Christian] God, then why aren’t Muslims and Hindus (and all the other worldwide faiths) ALSO hardwired for [the Christian] God?

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    Well that’s utterly ludicrous. And tautological to boot–we believe in (christian) god because we know that we should believe in god? News flash: we don’t. Because we don’t. And if we were, then what would be the point of baptism/confirmation/saying the Roman road thing or whatever it is evangelicals do? Is that a software update to your hardwiring, or something? Pbbbt.

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    Karen the rock whisperer

    We are hardwired to try to explain the world around us. We are also hardwired with a negative explanation bent; the pre-humans who lived to breed were the ones who took that rustling in the grass seriously, and treated it as though there was a predator there. Sometimes it was just the wind. Sometimes it wasn’t. Those folks who took the rustling seriously survived to become our ancestors.

    Fast-forward to human civilizations, which very quickly took on an authoritarian turn, since if people are trying to steal your tribe’s stuff, you need a leader to organize a response. Hominids were always good at imagining things that aren’t necessarily there, it kept us alive. But when we started to structure ourselves in larger groups, religious structures started forming as well. It’s reassuring to have somebody who insists they know what they’re doing (and maybe has some charisma) begging our ancestors or some anthropomorphisms of the elements to maybe get the rains to come, the crops to grow, etc., and most everyone agrees that this charismatic person can do that, hey, there’s no downside to buying in!

    If you read your OT without Christian blinders on, you’ll notice that it is the story (not history) of a tribe of people who herded animals that cope well with desert environments (sheep and goats), who evolved from polytheism to monotheism over centuries of establishing and reestablishing themselves at a crossroads of competing major local powers, who considered them mostly collateral winnings. Great for the collective psyche, NOT.

    The founder of Christianity, a charismatic misogynist named Paul, established churches at a time when many religions coexisted in an empire that usually realized the wisdom of not messing with people’s religions. The rulers only objected when they were convinced that Christianity was a threat to the empire. (Which it probably wasn’t, but rulers and the advisers of rulers can all have axes to grind,) Then, a truly clever emperor, trying to salvage what was even then an empire with cracks in the foundation, decided to pull it back together using a new-ish religion (Christianity) that supported his efforts with its theology. May or may not have had a Christian vision before a major battle, but sure as heck took the “render unto Caesar” bit and ran with it. His successors, also attempting to keep the Empire together, codified it as the Imperial religion.

    Christianity has been used to keep the people supporting the rulers’ dreams ever since. Currently in the US, conservative Christianity is the handmaiden of the oligarchy. She encourages the worship of unfettered capitalism, and helps distract people from the oligarchy’s power grab by focusing people on social issues that they legitimately should have no say in. Bring this up with conservative Christians (Protestant or Catholic) and you will get some response that, stripped of religious frills, is all about how people wouldn’t be suffering if they just turned their troubles over to Jesus.

    The liberal nuns who taught at my Catholic elementary and high schools would be holding demonstrations by now, if they were still alive. They cared about people, not profits, and didn’t worship at the altar of capitalism. Atheist me would be marching with them. (Can you march with a walker?)

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Karen—Yours is one of the all-time best responses to any post I’ve read on any blog or other forum.

    I’m not a paleontologist or evolutionary biologist (or scientist of any sort). So take what I’m about to say for what it’s worth.

    As best as I can tell, the only thing any living being, a human included, is “wired “ to do is to ensure its own survival. And we use whatever tools are available to us at any given moment. That is why humans try to explain and organize things and other people, whether through mythology, art or science. Art and science, even when their ideas and conclusions are proven wrong, are still steps forward. The same cannot be said of mythology. Sometimes, as in Greek and Roman mythology, there are things that help to explain human behavior. But that is not proof that Greeks or Romans were “hardwired” to believe in Zeus or Jupiter (knowledge for which Socrates paid with his life) any more than whatever people gain from being Evangelicals, Catholics or whatever tells us that they were “hardwired” to believe in the Christian God.

    If, as I have said, humans are hardwired only toward self- (and sometimes communal) preservation, they do whatever seems most appropriate to achieve that. That is why some act in selfish ways while others figure out that they have the best chance of survival by working with others. In other words, they experience and think with whatever data they have or acquire. As best as I can tell, nobody comes to the conclusion that they need or are “hardwired for” God unless someone (or a society) has inculcated them with a notion of that god.

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      Karen the rock whisperer

      MJ, I think you have it right. As a species (a trend that doesn’t include all individuals), we are hardwired to survive long enough to breed (and corollary, live long enough to parent offspring successfully if a species does that) . Despite the amazing diversity of life on our planet, and all the different reproductive strategies, this is the Prime Directive of life on earth. If it wasn’t, life on our planet wouldn’t have survived so many mass extinctions.

      I believe that it is the socialness of our species that made trouble for us, as regards religion. Habilis, erectus, neanderthalensis, and our other ancestors and cousins, like our own sapiens forebears, faced environments that were fairly hostile. Those folks compensated for the hostility of their environments by becoming ever more social species, dependent on the family/clan/tribe for survival. But even with their relatives on board, life was difficult, and those who survived to adulthood were often the ones with the best imaginations. Imagination is very much a two-edged sword, and can be used to manipulate those who also have imaginations but aren’t clear thinkers. Ergo, religion.

      Certainly, at least some of the people manipulating others with religion have lofty ideals. They are themselves believers, the religion promises great rewards for belief or right practice, and great punishment for unbelief or wrong practice. But it’s turtles all the way down; person A is manipulated into belief, thy do it to other people, who do it to other people… And I’m sorry if my own understanding of history is poor, but I tend to lay the whole stinking mess of Christianity at the feet of Paul and Constantine.

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Bruce Gerencser