Born Believers: The Science of Children's Religious Belief
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Born Believers: The Science of Children's Religious Belief

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Infants have a lot to make sense of in the world: Why does the sun shine and night fall; why do some objects move in response to words, while others won’t budge; who is it that looks over them and cares for them? How the developing brain grapples with these and other questions leads children, across cultures, to naturally develop a belief in a divine power of rem...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Atria Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Born Believers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Born Believers

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 214)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Fred Kohn
I was quite surprised to see how few stars others were rating this book. The sign for me that this book was extraordinarily objective was the fact that I was not sure whether the author himself believed in God until quite late in the book (although I had early suspicions). Perhaps I am a bit prejudiced: the author takes quite a few shots at Dawkins and the the new atheists, and I myself dislike them quite a bit even thought I don't believe in God myself. Perhaps this explains the relatively low...more
Jonna
While there was an interesting summary of research on cognitive development in children, overall, I was shocked by the simplistic nature of the author's arguments, and by his obvious biases. To give one especially striking example -- he argues that those who profess to be atheists appear to be disproportionately "male-brained" -- i.e., have difficulty understanding or empathizing with the feelings of others, and have difficulty "attributing agency" to others. At an extreme, he mentions, this is...more
Orsolya
There are certain actions our brains make which are so natural that we don’t even realize we are making them. One of these things is “beliefs”. We have the ability to believe and a Webster’s definition of the term but why and how do we “believe”? Taking this a step further, Justin L. Barrett Ph.D shows the link between brain development in children and the ability, disposition, and even preference to have beliefs in something abstract or supernatural. “Born Believers” explores this connection be...more
Donna
Received this book as ARC from Goodreads.

"The belief in God appears to be a naturally occurring human phenomenon" Agree or Disagree?

Dr. Justin Barrett has written a thought provoking novel on the subject of children and faith. Are we born believing in a supreme being? Or is it something taught to us?

This book is divided into two parts. Part one is labeled "The Evidence". It is primarily a listing of many studies Dr. Barrett used to explain his belief that we are all 'born believers'. He states...more
Janis Maudlin
Maybe this book could be called "boring believers" because it's a really boring book. like, who cares? you know. science just doesn't have anything of merit to contribute to this topic -especially uncritically accepted silly little test pseudo-science on kids that don't take extenuating circumstances into consideration. Other than that, a main evidence used to make the authors point is anecdotal evidence, i.e. "My kid said this", "my friends kid said this". and he doesn't really have a point to...more
Shelley


I received this book as an ARC from goodreads.

This book has an interesting premise that all children are born with the propensity to believe In a higher power. This Barrett refers to as Natural Religion, and does not necessarily translate into organized religious belief. The author uses results from several experiments to support this hypothesis. The second half of the book however, is more about how to mold those born believers into organized believers, which I think misses the point. If we ar...more
Jo Oehrlein
Interesting book with many psychological students of young children to see what they believe and when. It shows that belief in the supernatural is the norm for young children. It refutes some of the claims of the new atheists about religious belief in children and religious teaching of children.

The last chapter is probably most relevant for Christian Educators and Christian Families. It talks about how to teach religion to children and has a nice bulleted list of 10 things to do that will help p...more
Janet
Interesting enough. Not as extensively researched, or the research wasn't as extensively explained, as others, but develops a case for how the human tendency to seek out cause and effect and determine agency (those things which can act indepently) leads to a natural affinity for belief in the supernatural.
Kayla Rae
I feel as though it should have been half as long and twice as interesting. I found it to be very repetitive and often found my mind drifting from what would have been a very interesting topic. However, less-than-exhilarating writing and sub-par story-telling techniques are to be expected from a scientist.
BHodges
Interesting premise, needs more substantive research to better sustain.
Stephanie
Really interesting for people of all religions, including atheists.
Jennifer
Jennifer marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2014
Jhop
Jhop marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2014
Elizabeth
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Jesus Perez
Jesus Perez marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2014
Jafar
Jafar marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
Abdullah Noor
Abdullah Noor marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2014
Johnna Sturgeon
Johnna Sturgeon marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2014
Gordon Bermant
Gordon Bermant is currently reading it
Jun 04, 2014
Bethy
Bethy marked it as to-read
Apr 14, 2014
Andrew Fulford
Andrew Fulford marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2014
Sarah
Sarah marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2014
Joneen
Joneen marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2014
Paul Bard
Paul Bard marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2014
Thom Foolery
Thom Foolery marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Why Would Anyone Believe in God? Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology: From Human Minds to Divine Minds Psychology of Religion

Share This Book