Bruce Hood, professor of developmental psychology at Bristol University, believes the picture is more complex. “Our research shows children have a natural, intuitive way of reasoning that leads them to all kinds of supernatural beliefs about how the world works,” he said.

“As they grow up they overlay these beliefs with more rational approaches but the tendency to illogical supernatural beliefs remains as religion.”…

His work is supported by other researchers who have found evidence linking religious feelings and experience to particular regions of the brain. They suggest people are programmed to get a feeling of spirituality from what is nothing more than electrical activity in these regions.