This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. The book describes how different religious traditions prefer certain patterns of emotion, fostering and managing them at individual and community levels of identity. It shows how beliefs and doctrines interplay with human feelings to generate a sense of embodiment, that complex but valuable concept describing how cultural values become second nature to our sense of ourselves. It also draws attention to ‘otherness’, a concept that will be a constant reminder of the relatedness of persons, whether to others in society, to the environment itself, or to the supernatural influences of which many religions speak. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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