By F. Shults
Enticing fresh advancements in the bio-cultural research of faith, Shults unveils the developed cognitive and coalitional mechanisms wherein god-conceptions are engendered in minds and nurtured in societies. He discovers and makes an attempt to disencumber a appreciably atheist trajectory that has lengthy been suppressed in the self-discipline of theology.
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Additional info for Theology after the birth of God : Atheist conceptions in cognition and culture
Similar sorts of abuse occur later in childhood, and newly married husbands lacerate their own penises in a public display after the couple’s first night together. The descriptions of the molestations that must be suffered by the males in this coalition would make Hesiod blush and Chronos cringe. It seems that natural selection would weed out such behaviors since they do not provide any obvious reproductive advantage, and waste energy that could be used in more productive ways. 24 Continuing to participate in such costly activities signals one’s commitment to the group.
41 Such beliefs provide affective security. When combined with ongoing involvement in religious rituals that require costly displays of commitment, they also provide collective security. 42 The between-group enmity aroused by religious belief and behavior would have helped smallscale societies survive in the early ancestral environment, but it is deeply problematic in our contemporary context. In Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood and the (Un)Making of Terrorists, Atran reports on his ethnographic work among terrorist groups in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Southeast Asia.
The detection and interpretation of disembodied intentional forces—revelations in a broad sense—are not enough. The gods stay around only if groups engage them using practices—rituals in a broad sense—that bind the coalition together. Without the evolution of what we might call coalitional preference systems, the gods detected by cognitive inference systems would simply have dissipated. 18 What distinguishes the more recent research that I will briefly summarize here from earlier proposals is the way in which it integrates insights from the cultural and the cognitive sciences.