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Oxford scholars to study belief in God

Feb. 19, 2008 at 9:04 PM

OXFORD, England, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Two scholars at Oxford University in England are planning to investigate whether religious faith is in human genes.

Justin Barrett and Roger Trigg have received almost $4 million for the project from the John Templeton Foundation for the project, The Times of London reported.

"We are interested in exploring exactly in what sense belief in God is natural," Barrett said. "We think there is more on the nature side than a lot of people suppose."

Barrett, a Christian and author of "Why Would Anyone Believe in God?", said he and Trigg will not try to determine whether God exists. He believes that religious faith may have given humans an evolutionary advantage.

In some ways, Barrett said, faith springs from the childlike need to see adults as wise. As they grow up, children learn that other people aren't any wiser than they are but still have the need for someone who is all-wise.

"It usually does continue into adult life," he said. "It is easy, it is intuitive, it is natural. It fits our default assumptions about things."

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