Thinking About Religion: Extending the Cognitive Science of Religion
Thinking about Religion presents a case for an inter-disciplinary science of religion, proposing that religion operates as a kind of psychological ... Show synopsis Thinking about Religion presents a case for an inter-disciplinary science of religion, proposing that religion operates as a kind of psychological and social placebo effect. Religious belief combines thought, feeling and experience in a way that leverages the natural tendency of the mind to latch on to socially and personally useful concepts. This effect delivers tangible benefits because religious concepts and practice feed the mind's natural drive to cling to strong beliefs. At the same time, beliefs are reinforced by favourable emotional responses. Thinking about Religion explains how these elements work together to make religious belief such a powerful placebo effect. Belief is the currency of thought, and religious belief offers a powerful return on investment. Religious activity concentrates the mind's capacity to hold ideas that effectively galvanize groups and cultivate belonging.