“Atheism Is Definitely An Acquired Position”

Back in May, SalafiManhaj.com posted up a news bulletin titled Children Are Believers In God, Academic Claims. The bulletin was a short article taken from the Telegraph that told of a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind named Dr. Justin Barret who “claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.”

I was reminded of this bulletin this evening after a friend of mine sent me an email with a link to a similar article from The Age titled Infants ‘have natural belief in God’. This article, however, revolves around statements made by another person linked to Oxford University, a psychologist named Dr. Olivera Petrovich. Check out the following interview with Science & Spirit in which she explains her research: In the Beginning: An Interview with Olivera Petrovich. Quite interesting stuff, and not to mention, very supportive of Islamic doctrine regarding mankind’s natural disposition (Ar. fitrah).

Thanks goes to my man Hashi for the links; may Allah reward and bless him.


About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

One Response to “Atheism Is Definitely An Acquired Position”

  1. Hamza Ali says:

    I’m not sure about the background of Dr Petrovich.
    It would be a good source to use against the new atheists if she’s has no religious leanings. Otherwise the accusation of partiality might be thrown about.
    In this regard and in relation to Dr Barret, I wanted to share this with you and your readers.


    Nicholas Wolterstorff of Yale University states “For millennia, philosophers and others have offered explanations of religious belief. Barrett’s discussion challenges every explanation I know of, doing so on the basis of fascinating and innovative empirical studies, and acute philosophical analysis. His theory is innovative, compelling, and provocative at many points, not least in its conclusion that theism, not atheism, is our natural condition. It’s the sort of book that shakes up the field; all philosophers and psychologists of religion will have to take account of it.”

    But, Nicholas Wolterstorff is: “Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology” and is a Christian.

    Robert Hinde of Cambridge University suggests “In a beautifully argued presentation, Justin Barrett brings together diverse material from cognitive psychology to show that belief in God is natural. Belief is intuitively satisfying because it depends on mental tools possessed by all human beings. That it is natural does not imply that it is true, for the mental tools were elaborated through natural and cultural selection to help humans survive, not to find truth. This book will become a classic for religious studies, and should be read by anthropologists, theologians, and scientists, as well as all those puzzled by the force of religion.”

    Robert Hinde is “a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association”. It seems like he’s a humanist. This article states:

    Dawkins mentions lots of modern atheist scientists who have tried to explain the puzzle: Robert Hinde, Scott Atran, Pascal Boyer, DS Wilson, Daniel Dennett, all of them worth reading.

    The puzzle in this instance is how evolution can provide an explanation as to why religion persists.
    So it seems that at least one distinguished atheistic evolutionist has praised this research.
    It would be good to get a hold of this.

    Wa salaam

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