In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion
This ambitious, interdisciplinary book seeks to explain the origins of religion using our knowledge of the evolution of cognition. A cognitive anthropologist and psychologist, Scott Atran argues that religion is a by-product of human evolution just as the cognitive intervention, cultural selection, and historical survival of religion is an accommodation of certain existential and moral elements that have evolved in the human condition.
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This book isn't about the institution of religion, or any particular religions, but what is common to all religions, past, present, and future. Reading this book, one understands why religion is not likely to go away, why progress in science is largely irrelevant to the persistence of religion. Because religion, argues the author, is not so much about belief, whether preposterous or not, but about building "counterintuitive worlds" that are miraculously, but minimally, different from the everyday real world so as to render the "tragedy of cognition" (inescapable knowledge of death), deception (which language makes easy), and other "existential anxieties" less psychologically paralyzing, and also to facilitate unconditional interpersonal commitment (through mutual adherence to logically and empirically absurd beliefs) that makes enduring social life possible. Magnificent.
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In Gods We Trust:The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion: The Evolutionary ...
No preview available - 2004