I recently read an interesting idea that there might be an innate predisposition, or genetic pressure, to be religious, to believe in the existence of a god, to believe the teachings of a religion. The writer suggested that perhaps from several million years ago to only tens of thousands of years ago there were survival benefits to the tribes or populations which were bound together by a religious belief in some kind of god, and therefore the genetic message was transmitted more often to offspring, resulting in further genetically implanted "religious" genes into the human population. For example, a people bound by a common religious belief might fight the enemy with greater effort than would a tribe without the belief system, thus more of the former would survive the battles, and would pass along their "religion or god" genes.
The writer suggested that, just as language ability is genetically embedded in the infant by way of brain structures, so too is the religious tendency. If very early humans were prepared genetically for learning language as a consequence of it being beneficial to survival as a species, I suppose it possible too regarding the belief in a god.
Therefore, individuals who in these modern times believe in a god might be better understood, and forgiven for this tendency to avoid being completely rational, if one accepted the possibility of this genetic pressure. I’ve always thought that the decision or state of believing in a god or religion by moderns is a result perhaps of a great need to do so, and perhaps also as a consequence of being taught by parents, and persuaded by the preachers and peers.
The idea that the genetic pressure to believe might be within all humans allows many of us, if we accept the idea, to better understand how so many individuals in our society can actually believe, in spite of all the reasons to not believe.
Even though all humans might have the genes which prepare or urge us ever so slightly to believe in a god, some of us don’t believe perhaps because we are open to other pressures or understandings which urge us to not believe. Perhaps it is as if all humans are pressured from both the genetic and environmental conditions to make a final religious decision, which is simply a consequence of balancing the components offering the best argument, or the most pressure.
In a way, I am comforted by the possibility of the genetic influence on the human tendencies to believe in the existence of a god, or to fully engage a religion, as this allows me to be more tolerant of the believers, whom I formerly might have considered to be lacking in some necessary intelligence. The genetic idea, if it has a basis in fact, helps explain why so many moderns are religious, and in fact do believe in the existence of a god, in spite of all the reasons, according to my perspective, to avoid doing so.