Do believers have good intuition?

The recent study shows that good intuition make people more likely to believe in God and be religious or spiritual. Interesting, right? But from the beginning.

A 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion  (2008) found that 92% of Americans believe in God, with 71% holding this belief with “absolute certainty”. Worldwide, evaluations suggest that approximately 88%–93% of the population believes in a God or gods (Zuckerman, 2007). Scientists have supposted that belief in God is intuitive. More specifically, humans may have cognitive tendencies that support belief in God and other supernatural creatures. Others have proposed that the belief in God provides explanations that reduce uncertainty, particularly when unexpected events are personally meaningful. Moreover, belief in God may reduce anxiety related to such uncertainties. Other scientists have attempted to explain such variation focusing on how individuals’ beliefs are affected by their social contexts rather than on the distinctive psychological features of individual believer.

One potentially relevant aspect of cognitive style is the extent to which individuals form their judgments intuitively, as opposed to through reflection. By intuitive judgments we can undestand the judgments made with little effort based on automatic processes, and by reflective judgments we mean judgments in which the judge pauses to critically examine the dictates of her intuition, thus allowing for the possibility of a less-intuitive or counterintuitive conclusion. Reflection is typically assumed to be more effortful than intuition. If belief in God is indeed intuitive (consistent with propositions that the underlying beliefs spring to mind automatically or effortlessly), this suggests that the extent to which one believes in God may be influenced by one’s tendency to rely on intuition versus reflection.

    The latest study at Harvard University (2012) showed that actually intuitive thinking predicts belief in God. People who exhibit thinking styles that are more intuitive and less reflective are more likely to believe in God and to believe in God with greater confidence. It could mean – believing in God is intuitive, but who will examine whether it’s a good intuition or not ? 😉


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