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Evolution, Religion, and Cognitive ScienceCritical and Constructive Essays$
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Fraser Watts and Léon P. Turner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688081

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688081.001.0001

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From Empathy to Embodied Faith? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Evolution of Religion

From Empathy to Embodied Faith? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Evolution of Religion

Chapter:
(p.132) 8 From Empathy to Embodied Faith? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Evolution of Religion
Source:
Evolution, Religion, and Cognitive Science
Author(s):

J. Wentzel van Huyssteen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688081.003.0008

The underlying argument of this chapter is that in the search for the nature of the human self, of personhood, theology and the sciences may find a surprising overlapping, shared research trajectory. The evolution of religion and religious behaviour, it is argued, can never be disentangled from the evolution of embodied human personhood. The chapter explores contemporary accounts of the evolution of empathy and attachment, the evolution of morality, and the evolution of the religious disposition, arguing that each of these uniquely human traits has played a defining role in the evolution of human communication and human interpersonal attachment, and, along with the evolution of complex symbolic behaviour, combine to give us important insights into the evolution of religion and religious behaviour. The cognitive science of religion, it is suggested, must pay greater attention to the embodiedness of human beings in its account of the evolution of religion.

Keywords:   Embodiment, Movement, semantic template, attachment theory, empathy, morality, communication, neuroscience, religious experience, faith

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