Is there a God gene?

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One scientist has claimed to have found a God gene. A gene that causes some part of our brain to be susceptible to the idea of God. Another study showed that identical twins with a particular version of the God gene who were reared apart were twice as likely to become religious as those without that version of the gene.

Based on these studies, some scientists have concluded faith is biological. In their opinion, those of us with faith are being led around by our DNA. I can see how this makes sense if you believe in evolution. If we are all evolved animals, then most of our behavior should be explained by how our DNA has evolved. So to explain a belief, it must be rooted in our genes and it must have an evolutionary advantage somehow. But is there an evolutionary advantage to faith that would cause the God gene to propagate?

Perhaps the scientists think the God gene would help people to cooperate enough to create a society and live peacefully together (assuming we actually do that now). I could see the evolutionary advantage to that.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t put it past God to give a genetic susceptibility for belief to those people who He already foresaw would come to Him. But then again, maybe not. The Bible says, He gave us the choice. To explain away faith as the product of a gene minimizes the role of our free will.

It isn’t faith if it’s forced. And it isn’t faith if it’s biologically programmed.

Scientists may try to consign God to a portion of DNA, but He is bigger than that. He is working out His plan. He is crafting the fabric of our lives. He is watching and listening to our limited, human attempts to define Him.

What do you think? Is belief genetic? If so, could you enhance or destroy that part of you? Where does free will come into it?

 

Reference: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/nov/14/20041114-111404-8087r/, http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-08/what-twins-reveal-about-god-gene

 

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6 thoughts on “Is there a God gene?

  1. This is very interesting–never heard of the God gene before. I’m not a geneticist/scientist, but it makes me wonder if these genes are found because of a family’s history of faith. Can’t genes be turned on and off due to environmental factors, individual behaviors, etc.? Perhaps if parents are believers, they pass on a gene that makes their children more susceptible to believing. ??

    • Thanks for commenting, Nichole! I’m not a geneticist either, but I suspect any gene you could dub a God gene would just give someone a tendency toward a behavior or belief. Kind of like people who are more adrenaline seeking somehow find fast cars. There isn’t a fast car gene, just the genetic difference in personality. I think God uses many factors to draw people to Himself and for some maybe he gives a genetic predisposition to believe. And yet, I have seen all different kinds of personalities in the church, so if there’s a God gene it must be versatile. God loves variety! Genetics is such a fascinating field, and you can bet I’m going to use some of this in a future novel.

  2. Thank you for adding that! You are right. It used to be the norm for scientists to believe in miracles. Now it’s the exception.

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