Religion is natural


Address for correspondence: Paul Bloom, Department of Psychology, Yale University, P.O. Box 208205, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA; e-mail:


Despite its considerable intellectual interest and great social relevance, religion has been neglected by contemporary developmental psychologists. But in the last few years, there has been an emerging body of research exploring children's grasp of certain universal religious ideas. Some recent findings suggest that two foundational aspects of religious belief – belief in mind–body dualism, and belief in divine agents – come naturally to young children. This research is briefly reviewed, and some future directions are discussed.