People are religious.
Not “SOME people are religious.” People are religious.
In every nook and cranny of this planet, among every race and in every tongue, in every culture and climate, there is prayer, there is ritual, there is religion. So pervasive is the religiosity of people that unbelieving scientist Jesse Bering has said, “I’ve always said that I don’t believe in God, but I don’t really believe in atheists either.” Read that whole article, because it is very intriguing. Bering can’t affirm that there’s a God, but he thinks that deep down inside everyone, himself included, has a gut instinct that there is one.
Not “People, AMONG OTHER CREATURES, are religious.” People (and only people) are religious.
There’s not the least shred of evidence that any other animal prays, offers sacrifices, pens worshipful lyrics, or otherwise acts religiously. If your dog or the chimpanzees down at your local zoo share Bering’s gut instinct, there’s no indication of it.
These facts are quite easy to reconcile with Christianity. Evolution is nowhere close to explaining them. And yes, I understand that this does not prove evolution false and does not disprove atheism either, but you can understand why I watch with interest as evolutionists hurl Hail Mary passes to try to answer this question.
Some have suggested that religion evolved as an unintended consequence of “agency detection.” Agency detection is the way that we see leaves rustling and surmise that a man-eating tiger might be rustling around behind that bush. We need agency detection, the scientists say, because it keeps us from being eaten. As a side-effect, we detect agency that doesn’t exist (God) behind ordinary phenomena. Our agency detectors are too good.
And yet, there’s an obvious problem with this approach: Human beings are nowhere near the sharpest creatures on the planet when it comes to agency detection. What’s more, there’s no reason to conclude that our supposed closest relatives, chimpanzees, fall way down the agency detection ladder from us. They seem as good as we are at avoiding jaguars and determining when someone is sneaking up on them, if not better.
Others have suggested that we need religion in order to cooperate as groups (see, for example, here or here). And yet, again, chimpanzees seem to cooperate with one another well without the benefit of religious faith. Furthermore, I think it is difficult for atheists to say out of one side of their mouths that religion is the perennial source of war and bloodshed while saying out of the other side of their months that we have religion because we needed it in order to develop social cooperation.
I think that atheistic evolutionists are doomed to live with the struggles of Bering. Their theory that starts with the presumption that there is no God necessarily winds up concluding that it is the best adaptation to our world for us to believe that there is one nonetheless.