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Monotheism versus an innate bias towards mentalizing

  • Fintan John Costello (a1)

Norenzayan et al.’s account for the spread of monotheistic “Big God” religions sees these religions originating as by-products of innate cognitive biases. These biases produce polytheistic rather than monotheistic systems, however, and so do not explain the origin of monotheism. Accounts where monotheism arises from polytheism (for political reasons, for example) appear better able to explain the spread of monotheism.

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Brown, P. (2003) The rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and diversity, A.D. 200–1000, second ed. Blackwell Publishing.
Jones, G. (2001) A history of the Vikings, second edition. Oxford University Press.
Smith, M. S. (2001) The origins of biblical monotheism: Israel's polytheistic background and the Ugaritic texts. Oxford University Press.
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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