Religion in Mind is a 2001 text which summarizes and extends the advances in the cognitive study of religion throughout the 1990s. It uses empirical research from psychology and anthropology to illuminate various components of religious belief, ritual, and experience. The book examines cognitive dimensions of religion within a naturalistic view of culture, while respecting the phenomenology of religion and drawing together teachers of religion, psychologists of religion, and cognitive scientists. Expert contributors focus on phenomena such as belief-fixation and transmission; attributions of agency; anthropomorphizing; counterintuitive religious representations; the well-formedness of religious rituals; links between religious representations and emotions; and the development of god concepts. The work encourages greater interdisciplinary linkages between scholars from different fields and will be of interest to researchers in anthropology, psychology, sociology, history, philosophy, and cognitive science. It also will interest more general readers in religion and science.
• A scientific approach to religion that draws on highly credible findings from cognitive science • Includes work by some of the original contributors to the cognitive study of religion • An important summary of the field, of interest to anyone concerned with the relationship between religion and science
1. Introduction: towards a cognitive science of religion Jensine Andresen; Part I. Belief Acquisition and the Spread of Religious Representations: 2. On what we may believe about beliefs Benson Saler; 3. Cognition, emotion, and religious experience Ilkka Pyysiäinen; 4. Why gods? A cognitive theory Stewart Guthrie; Part II. Questioning the 'Representation' of Religious Ritual Action: 5. Ritual, memory, and emotion: comparing two cognitive hypotheses Robert N. McCauley; 6. Psychological perspectives on agency E. Thomas Lawson; 7. Do children experience God like adults? Justin L. Barrett; Part III. Embodied Models of Religion: 8. Cognitive study of religion and Husserlian phenomenology: making better tools for the analysis of cultural systems Matti Kamppinen; 9. Why a proper science of mind implies the transcendence of nature Francisco J. Varela; 10. Religion and the frontal lobes Patrick McNamara; 11. Conclusion: religion in the flesh: forging new methodologies for the study of religion Jensine Andresen.