March is Women’s History Month. It appears that religious beliefs are not history among women. A recent survey by the Pew Research Institute shows that 63% of women compared to only 49% of men say that “religion is very important in their lives” and 66% “pray at least daily” compared to only 49% of men. Women’s close affinity with religion seems odd given that religious dogma tends to be misogynistic.
So why do women flock to religion? Larry Moran, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto addresses the question in his blog, Why Are Women Religious? He points out that, “The idea that women might feel the need to belong to a group isn’t wrong. There may even be some biological differences between men and women (hormones?) that underlie this preference for belonging.” Even if it is true that women are genetically predisposed to behaving more socially, it does not adequately explain the need for more religious affiliation.
So far, no evidence for a “religious” gene exists. Moran concludes in his article, “The fact that, today, women in Western industrialized nations tend to be more religious than men could be entirely due to culture.” Religion is as man-made as the bogey man or tooth-fairy. It is not genes that make us believe, but vivid imaginations and indoctrination.