Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

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Basic Books, 2001 - Religion - 375 pages
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Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.
 

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Review: Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

User Review  - Pablo Flores - Goodreads

This is a complex, well-researched, well-rounded book about the mechanisms of what we call “religion”, or more to the point “religious thought”, which turns out to be what happens naturally when ... Read full review

Review: Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

User Review  - Last Ranger - Goodreads

Hidden Pathways In the Mind: One thing that most humans have in common is a religion of one kind or another. If an unexplained event, good or bad, occurs in your life, then you can blame, or thank ... Read full review

Contents

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN?
1
WHAT SUPERNATURAL CONCEPTS ARE LIKE
51
THE KIND OF MIND IT TAKES
93
WHY GODS AND SPIRITS?
137
WHY DO GODS AND SPIRITS MATTER?
169
WHY IS RELIGION ABOUT DEATH?
203
WHY RITUALS?
229
WHY DOCTRINES EXCLUSION AND VIOLENCE?
265
WHY BELIEF?
297
Further readings
331
Notes
335
References
343
Index
359
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Pascal Boyer is Luce Professor of Collective and Individual Memory at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

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