[reposting this from two years ago – hoping this time it gets read by someone who needs to read it…]
Wacked out. Even the Wall Street Journal had to give the research column time, with an article A Divine Way to Resist Temptation penned by Jonah Lehrer. The research done in Ontario at Queen’s University and published in Psychological Science explored how even hints at faith-based words made research participants more successful at staying focused, more able to take on uncomfortable tasks and more able to control themselves. Okay, okay, in simpler language. The researchers gave scrambled words “hinting” at G-d based ideas, words such as Bible, to one cohort. The other cohort got no hint, no scrambled word such as Divine. Then both groups were given tasks and observed for success rates. Those who had been “primed” to think of G-d came out ahead consistently.
An interesting study, no? Showing G-d centered living makes for successful living. Proving a G-d-focus keeps us steady and strong. Yet, to me, what the authors of the study were trying to prove is not the most interesting. I find something else far more amazing.
To quote Lehrer in the WSJ, “the scientists found that,” agnostics and atheists, “were still influenced by subconscious thoughts of G-d.”
Here is where I find fascination. I always, when arguing with atheists and agnostics, ask them what a child who had no outside influence would believe. If a child is born apart from civilization and grows up in the wild, will the child believe in G-d or not? And almost always, even atheists and agnostics tend to think such child would conjure up, on his own, a thought about a G-d creating him. In my opinion, to me that proves the concept of a soul within us, a soul which KNOWS G-d. We might try to deny Him to excuse our lifestyle choices, or get talked out of believing in Him by shoddy science or intellectual arguments, but we all start off life knowing G-d.
Now, I think this research study, not meaning to do so, has reinforced my argument. For, if atheists and agnostics are honest with themselves, if G-d didn’t exist, they wouldn’t automatically think “G-d” when given faith-based words. The fact that those who are avowed non-believers in G-d are influenced by hints of G-d shows even they have a soul which knows G-d. Inside of them is imprisoned their G-dly spark, set loose even by the hint of Divine.