I remember a few years ago reading TIME magazine stating the possibility that faith / piety of humans are hardwired into our genes. How true is this? And to what extent does our genes influence our behavior?
With neither animals nor human beings has there ever been any evidence to say that the emotional type of characteristic such as faith or piety can be transmitted through the genes. Faith and piety seem to be completely outside the range of characteristics which could ever be transmitted through the genes. Faith and piety specifically seem to be related to the ‘ruh’, God consciousness, which Allah breathes into every human being as they are developing their physical body within the mother’s womb. The ruh is an aspect of the non-physical part of the human being, the aspect we normally refer to as spiritual. Instincts in animals are clearly transmitted through the genes. Some of these instincts have shown to consist of quite complex behaviours.
It would seem some human behaviours could fairly be categorized as instincts, and these are clearly passed on through genetic transmission. Unfortunately, due to the sophisticated learning patterns of human beings it is almost impossible to separate the genetic component of a behaviour from the learned component of a behaviour accept in a few of the most simple examples. Generally though, the more a behaviour involves intellectual and emotional components the less likely it is to be transmitted genetically.
It would be most helpful to view a developing human being as a blank page that will be written upon by the hand of the environment. That original blank page, while empty, is not level; it will consist of many ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’. Those hills and valleys show up as areas of attributes and deficits giving benefit or causing detriment on the physical and/or mental development of each new human being. Those hills and valleys are the aspects of the human being which are transmitted genetically from generation to generation.
The Answer Man
So, from what I understand from your post, the so-called god-gene creates an uneven surface on the part of the blank page of a newly created human being where it concerns their inclinations toward god?
Let me verify whether I understand you correctly.
The scientist posits a claim that faith in God is a behavior that people with a god-gene are inclined to have. Knowledge I gained on this website and your further clarification, however, states that faith in God is an essential part of human creation Willed by Allah, not related to a conditioning process or a genetic factor, though those two factors can affect that characteristic.
You understand correctly as long as you realize the 'God gene' is transmitted according to the Will of Allah by messengers of light from outside the physical existence (the spiritual world) to the newly developing human being in the mother's womb. It is NOT carried in the chromosomes!
Faith is placed within every human being by Allah and is our 'fitrah'. Whether or not we express that faith is mostly determined by our environmental circumstances since in the issue of faith there is an extremely small genetic component. While I say this is true it is important to realize that our environment does not only consist of the two external sources of influence, the physical world and the social world (as is true for animals), but our human environment also includes our 'inner speech' that arises internally, primarily but not exclusively, from the thoughts in our mind. Allah places the same potential for faith in every human being, so if we want to see that most wonderful attribute manifested then we must create the environmental circumstances that make the expression of faith most likely.
Actually the whole process is quite a bit more complicated than that but what I have said is a simple version of the very complicated reality.
The Answer Man