This book takes a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approach to religion, religiosity and theology from their earliest beginnings to the present day. It uniquely brings together the natural sciences and theology to explore how religious practice emerged and developed through the four sections into which the book is organized: Evolutionary biology; Philosophical linguistics, psychology and neuroscience; Theology and Anthropology.
The volume features an international panel of contributors who develop an innovative picture of religion as a culturally-created social institution; religiosity as a more personal and subjective anthropological element of people expressed through religion; and theology as the study of god. To survive in changing times, living systems — a good characterization of religion, religiosity and theology — all must adaptively evolve.
This is a vital study of a rapidly burgeoning field. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars in religious studies and theology as well as in the psychological, sociological, and anthropological study of religion.
Table of Contents
List of contributors
Introduction: A Multi-Level and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Understanding Religion and Its Evolution
Part I EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY
1 Cultural Evolution, Biology, and the Case of Religion
2 The Evolutionary Biology of Religion Specific Beliefs and Inter-Religious Conflict
Jay R. Feierman
3 Sex and the Evolution of Spirituality
4 The Biological Basis for Religion and Religion's Evolutionary Origins
Part II PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE, PSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE
5 A History of the Evolution of Religion: From Religion to Religiosity to the Processes of Believing
6 The Processes of Believing in Religion’s Evolution: A Cognitive Neuroscience Hypothesis
Rüdiger J. Seitz
7 Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in Sensing the Divine: One Foundational Role in Religion’s Evolution
Michael N. Marsh
8 Awe as a Meaning-Making Emotion: On the Evolution of Awe and the Origin of Religions
Elliott Ihm, Jonathan Schooler, Michael van Elk and Ray Paloutzian
9 Whence this Need for Salvation? Childhood Corporal Punishment and the Cultural Evolution of Religious Myth
Part III THEOLOGY
10 What a Theological Appropriation of Cognitive Linguistics’ Blending Theory Brings to a Scientific Understanding of the Evolution of Religion
11 The Evolution of Religiosity: A Theologian’s View
Christopher C. Knight
12 Neoteny and Homo religiosus: Brain Evolution and the Emergence of the Capacity for Spirituality
13 Emotions and the Evolution of the Belief in God
Part IV ANTHROPOLOGY
14 The Evolution of Hunter-Gather Religion: Issues and Debates among the San Bushmen of Southern Africa
15 Bones, Pigments, Art and Symbols: Archaeological Evidence for the Origins of Religion
Chapter 16 Every Kingdom Divided Against Itself: Moral Laws and the Persecution of
Christians in the Evolution of Christianity
Jay R. Feierman and Lluis Oviedo
Jay R. Feierman retired as Clinical Professor of psychiatry at University of New Mexico in 2006. He has degrees in zoology and medicine with post-doc specialization and Board Certification in psychiatry. Almost all of his academic publications in both psychiatry and religion have been from the perspective of human ethology, the evolutionary biology of behavior. He has organized a number of international conferences on the evolutionary and biological aspects of religion. He also edited The Biology of Religious Behavior: The Evolutionary Origins of Faith and Religion (2009) and has a number of articles and book chapters in this area.
Lluis Oviedo is full professor of Theological Anthropology (Antonianum University, Rome); and invited professor in the Theological Institute of Murcia (Spain) for questions of religion, society and culture. Has published the books: Secularization as a Problem; Altruism and Charity; The Christian Faith and the New Social Challenges; and is Co-Editor with A. Runehov of the Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions. His research focuses on new scientific study of religion and its theological impact, and issues about secularization and religious social dynamics.