In his new book, Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not (Oxford University Press, 2011), Robert McCauley (William Rand Kenan Jr. University Professor and director of Emory’s Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture) describes how our minds are better suited to religious belief than to scientific inquiry. Religion has existed for many thousands of years in every society because the kinds of explanations it provides are precisely the kinds that come naturally to human minds.
Science, on the other hand, is a much more recent and rare development because it reaches radical conclusions and requires a kind of abstract thinking that only arises consistently under very specific social conditions.
Religion makes intuitive sense to us, while science requires a lot of work. The naturalness of religion, he suggests, means that science poses no real threat to it, while the unnaturalness of science puts it in a surprisingly precarious position.