Belief in God: Why People Believe, and Why They Don’t
Belief in a god or gods is a central feature in the lives of billions of people and a topic of perennial interest within psychology. However, research over the past half decade has achieved a new level of understanding regarding both the ultimate and proximate causes of belief in God. Ultimate causes?the evolutionary influences on a trait?shed light on the adaptive value of belief in God and the reasons why a tendency toward this belief exists in humans. Proximate causes?the immediate influences on the expression of a trait?explain variation and changes in belief. We review this research and discuss remaining barriers to a fuller understanding of belief in God.