• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent does there exist a universal predisposition towards religion?

Extracts from this document...


"To what extent does their exist a universal predisposition towards religion" Christians believe that in the world there exists a universal predisposition to religion. They provide many arguments to support their claim including, the persistence of religion, and religious experiences. Humanists however are not as convinced. Like all aspects of religion they believe it all to be in the mind, they believe that religion has a hold over a person that does more harm than good. One of the key arguments in favour of a universal predisposition to religion is the persistence of religion. Although religions have changed dramatically since there beginnings thousands of years ago, the fact remains that they have stood the test of time. The early religions of Eastern Europe and Asia have evolved into the main religions of this age, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Humanists argue this theory. They believe that the continuation of religion is more to do with the mind than anything else. Richard Dawkins author of "The Selfish Gene" believes that religions act as 'fads', which in some way replicate themselves through genes from one generation to the next. Humanists go on to argue that if there is a persistence of religion then why is there such in a decline in people worshiping religions. They believe that this is an inevitable consequence of the spread if education and science. ...read more.


At the most recent event, an estimated 10 million people appeared at the Kumbha Mela festival. And the third is the huge amount of visitors who flock to see the Turin Shroud that it is believed Jesus Christ was wrapped in and buried in. Christians put a lot of faith in the evidence from Anthropology and Archaeology to prove the existence of a universal predisposition to religion. Modern anthropology concludes that the belief in the supernatural and the presence of religious ideas and practices is virtually universal. While there is many variations in the degrees of religiousness shown by individuals the fact remains that there has always been some form of religion in human societies. It is more difficult to identify characteristics of religion that are universal, there is evidence pointing towards a series of recurrent ideas. The social anthropologist Pascal Boyer suggested that belief in non-physical beings is the most common feature of religions. The origins of religion are thought to date back many thousands of years ago to a period anthropologists call the upper Palaeolithic period, probably about 40,000 years ago. Archaeological finds from this period include many underground painted caves which are thought to be where the rituals took place. Famous examples of these are the painted caves of Les Trois- Freres in France. On the walls are pictures of sorcerers or shamans which experts believe could be their version of God. ...read more.


Religious experiences don't only take the form of near death experiences and angels etc, Rudolf Otto believed that religious experiences can be the sense of mystery which people come to feel in certain circumstances. An example of which could be the sudden feeling of awe or the feeling of being in the presence of something eerie or uncanny which is powerful. However, humanists disagree with this theory of religious experiences. David Hume, a humanists, thought it a "miracle" in itself that people who believe in miracles are willing to subvert all of the evidence of the senses and the processes of rationality in order to accept their beliefs. It has been suggested that religious experiences are part of a general disposition to look for and find meaning in life. It could be a scenario of people trying to justify their beliefs and values to give meaning to their lives. Within human life in general, it would seem, a degree of faith prevails over doubt and despair. Therefore, referring back to the question, it would seem that there is a universal predisposition to religion. I believe that humanists don't put up much of a fight on this issue because they know that it's probably correct. They justify this view point by indicating that while religion may have featured prominently up to now, it's on its way out. Christians have some very strong arguments regarding the predisposition to religion that I believe prove that it does exist. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mark Robb Page 1 02/05/07 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Religion in the Media section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Religion in the Media essays

  1. Discuss the merits of theories of secularisation with regard to religion in modern Britain

    that it performed in pre-industrial societies. In this respect, the Church, for example, becomes an increasingly marginalized social institution. If this is the case, this idea might explain such things as falling religious membership and church attendance, in the sense that people no-longer use the Church to satisfy (non-religious) needs (such as status considerations, for example).

  2. 'Modern Britain is now a Secular Society.' To what extent do Sociological arguments and ...

    Membership of some non-Christian churches and other religious organisations has been increasing. Much of this increase is accounted for by the rises in the numbers of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Scientologists (Cult?). Some other groups, including Theosophists, Unitarian churches and Spiritualists have declined.

  1. To what extent were the witch hunts of the Early Modern Period the result ...

    on life because religion meant everything to people in Early Modern society. People had a reliance on superstitions and religious explanations that the Reformation and Counter Reformation either argued or changed completely. People weren't sure what or who to believe, and who to trust, so would often conform to whatever

  2. Is There A Decline In Religion...In Today's Society?

    My questionnaire will include both pre-coded questions and open-ended questions for example: Q1-this is a pre-coded question it enables the respondent to circle the answer that I have provided in the form of two multiple answers. Q10-this is an open-ended question because it enables the respondent to state their opinion

  1. Discuss the merits of theories of secularisation with regard to religion in modern Britain

    This view is also associated with the number of children being baptised. Membership levels of Christian organisations in Britain are one of the strongest indicators of religious commitment. However, the methodology in which statistic are collected needs to be considered, Christian denominations retain an electoral roll of their members entitle to vote on decision regarding the Church.

  2. Are Near Death Experience's a valid form of Religious Experience

    This concise definition covers both Schliermacher and Otto, and includes the mystical form of Religious Experiences. It leaves open the nature of God and whether the experience is delusory or veridical. Further explanation of Religious Experience comes from William James.

  1. Desiderius Erasmus and Christian Humanism.

    Erasmus' view of the Pope and the Romanists is that they "know nothing in general, they profess to know all things in particular; though they are ignorant even of themselves, and on occasion do not see the ditch or the stone lying across their path, because many of them are

  2. What would a modern athlete find strange about the organisation of the ancient Olympics?

    the oaths that were taken by the athletes struck fear into them that Zeus would know, it emphasises that even though it was just a statue competitors would still find it daunting and would be less likely to break the rules with Zeus's wrath their punishment.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work