Researchers at Oxford University are launching a major study to determine why people believe in God.
Anthropologists, theologians, philosophers and professors will work together for three years to study if belief in a divine being is basic to human nature.
The director of Oxford's Science and Religion Center says research suggests that faith in God is a universal impulse found in most cultures throughout the world.
"There are a lot of issues. What is it that is innate in human nature to believe in God, whether it is gods or something superhuman or supernatural?" said Roger Trigg, acting director of the Ian Ramsey Center for Science and Religion.
"One implication that comes from this is that religion is the default position, and atheism is perhaps more in need of explanation," he said.
They will spend nearly $4 million dollars on the project. The study will be funded by the John Templeton Foundation, a U.S.-based philanthropic organization that funds wide-ranging research into questions that deal with the laws of nature and issues of spirituality.
Source: The Associated Press