discovering god the origins of the great religions and the evolution of belief

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Discovering God

Author : Rodney Stark
ISBN : 9780061743337
Genre : Religion
File Size : 32. 23 MB
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Winner of the 2008 Christianity Today Award of Merit in Theology/Ethics The History of God In Discovering God, award-winning sociologist Rodney Stark presents a monumental history of the origins of the great religions from the Stone Age to the Modern Age and wrestles with the central questions of religion and belief.

Religion Explained

Author : Pascal Boyer
ISBN : 9780465004614
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 38. 97 MB
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Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.

The Evolution Of God

Author : Robert Wright
ISBN : 0316053279
Genre : Religion
File Size : 86. 23 MB
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In this sweeping narrative that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright's findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. He explains why spirituality has a role today, and why science, contrary to conventional wisdom, affirms the validity of the religious quest. And this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism, but future harmony. Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward.

Conceiving God The Cognitive Origin And Evolution Of Religion

Author : David Lewis-Williams
ISBN : 9780500770436
Genre : Religion
File Size : 53. 95 MB
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A controversial exploration of the origin of religion in the neurology of the human brain. In this book the noted cognitive archaeologist David Lewis-Williams confronts a question that troubles many people in the world today: Is there a supernatural realm that intervenes in the material world of daily life and leads to the evolution of religions? Professor Lewis-Williams first describes how science developed within the cocoon of religion and then shows how the natural functioning of the human brain creates experiences that can lead to belief in a supernatural realm, beings, and interventions. Once people have these experiences, they formulate beliefs about them, and thus creeds are born. Forty thousand years ago, people were leaving traces in the archaeological record of activities that we can label religious, and Lewis-Williams discusses in detail the evidence preserved in the Volp Caves in France. He also shows that mental imagery produced by the functioning of the human brain can be detected in widely separated religious communities such as Hildegard of Bingen’s in medieval Europe or the San hunters of southern Africa.

Why God

Author : Rodney Stark
ISBN : 9781599475219
Genre : Religion
File Size : 24. 22 MB
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Why is it that the majority of people, from all socio-economic, education, and ethnic backgrounds, ascribe to some sort of faith? What draws us to religion? What pushes us away? And what exactly is religion anyway? Defining religion over the past century has, ironically, led to theories that exclude belief in God, proposing that all systems of thought concerning the meaning of life are religions. Of course, this makes it impossible to distinguish the village priest from the village atheist, or Communism from Catholicism. Worse yet, it makes all religious behavior irrational, presuming that, for example, people knowingly pray to an empty sky. Renowned sociologist of religion Rodney Stark offers a comprehensive, decisive, God-centered theory of religion in his book, Why God: Explaining Religious Phenomena. While his intent is not to insist that God exists, Stark limits religions to systems of thought based on belief in supernatural beings—to Gods. With this God-focused theory, Stark explores the entire range of religious topics, including the rise of monotheism, the discovery of sin, causes of religious hostility and conflict, and the role of revelations. Each chapter of Why God? builds a comprehensive framework, starting with the foundations of human motivations and ending with an explanation of why most people are religious. Stark ultimately settles what religion is, what it does, and why it is a universal feature of human societies. Why God? is a much needed guide for anyone who wants a thorough understanding of religion and our relationship to it, as well as a firm refutation to those who think religion can exist without the divine.

No God But God Updated Edition

Author : Reza Aslan
ISBN : 9780679643777
Genre : Religion
File Size : 75. 99 MB
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A fascinating, accessible introduction to Islam from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer FINALIST FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD In No god but God, internationally acclaimed scholar Reza Aslan explains Islam—the origins and evolution of the faith—in all its beauty and complexity. This updated edition addresses the events of the past decade, analyzing how they have influenced Islam’s position in modern culture. Aslan explores what the popular demonstrations pushing for democracy in the Middle East mean for the future of Islam in the region, how the Internet and social media have affected Islam’s evolution, and how the war on terror has altered the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East. He also provides an update on the contemporary Muslim women’s movement, a discussion of the controversy over veiling in Europe, an in-depth history of Jihadism, and a look at how Muslims living in North America and Europe are changing the face of Islam. Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account that explains this magnificent yet misunderstood faith. Praise for No god but God “Grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined . . . a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.”—The New York Times “[Reza] Aslan offers an invaluable introduction to the forces that have shaped Islam [in this] eloquent, erudite paean to Islam in all of its complicated glory.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review “Wise and passionate . . . an incisive, scholarly primer in Muslim history and an engaging personal exploration.”—The New York Times Book Review “Acutely perceptive . . . For many troubled Muslims, this book will feel like a revelation, an opening up of knowledge too long buried.”—The Independent (U.K.) “Thoroughly engaging and excellently written . . . While [Aslan] might claim to be a mere scholar of the Islamic Reformation, he is also one of its most articulate advocates.”—The Oregonian

God S Brain

Author : Lionel Tiger
ISBN : 9781616143114
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 75. 9 MB
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The joint effort [of two distinguished authors and scholars] is impressive. It manages to bring the experience and energy of both men together in one, pithy, provocative package.-Washington TimesWith economy, evidence and no little wit and elegance, Lionel Tiger and Michael McGuire look for the answer to religion''s ubiquity and persistence in the only place possible: the human brain. To say more would be to give away their answer, and that would spoil a great read and a serious and informative argument. This is easily the best book on the nature of religion to appear for a long time.-Robin Fox, University Professor of Social Theory, Rutgers UniversityIf God''s Brain sounds whimsically paradoxical, it is only because the authors believe that most people of faith have been looking for God in all the wrong places. The authors suggest that religious believers should look inward, rather than outward, to find God. The book is a well-written, easy to read, unique perspective on religion. Yes, God has a brain. The book will captivate all but the piously religious faint-of-heart.-Jay R. Feierman, Editor, The Biology of Religious Behavior: The Evolutionary Origins of Faith and ReligionTwo distinguished authors radically alter the fractious debate on the existence of God and the nature of religion. Taking a perspective rooted in evolutionary biology with a focus on brain science, renowned anthropologist Lionel Tiger and pioneering neuroscientist Michael McGuire-a primary discoverer of serotonin''s crucial role in brain chemistry-elucidate the perennial questions about religion: What is its purpose? How did it arise? What is its source? Why does every known culture have some form of it?Their answer is deceptively simple, yet at the same time highly complex: The brain creates religion and its varied concepts of God, and then in turn feeds on its creation to satisfy innate neurological and associated social needs.Brain science reveals that humans and other primates alike are afflicted by unavoidable sources of stress that the authors describe as brainpain. To cope with this affliction people seek to brainsoothe. We humans use religion and its social structures to induce brainsoothing as a relief for innate anxiety. How we do this is the subject of this groundbreaking book.In a concise, lively, accessible, and witty style, the authors combine zoom-lens vignettes of religious practices with discussions of the latest research on religion''s neurological effects on the brain. Among other topics, they consider religion''s role in providing positive socialization, its seeming obsession with regulating sex, creating an afterlife, how religion''s rules of behavior influence the law, the common biological scaffolding between nonhuman primates and humans and how this affects religion, a detailed look at brain chemistry and how it changes as a result of stress, and evidence that the palliative effects of religion on brain chemistry is not matched by nonreligious remedies.Concluding with a checklist offering readers a means to compute their own brainsoothe score, this fascinating book provides key insights into the complexities of our brain and the role of religion, perhaps its most remarkable creation.Lionel Tiger (New York, NY) is the bestselling author of Men in Groups, The Imperial Animal (with Robin Fox), The Pursuit of Pleasure, Optimism: The Biology of Hope, and The Decline of Males. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Harvard Business Review, and Brain and Behavioral Science. He is the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University.Michael McGuire, MD (Cottonwood, CA), is the author or editor of ten books, including Darwinian Psychiatry (with A. Troisi). He is the president of the Biomedical Research Foundation, director of the Bradshaw Foundation and the Gruter Institute of Law and Behavior, and a trustee of the International Society of Human Ethology. Formerly, he was a professo

In Gods We Trust

Author : Scott Atran
ISBN : 9780199884346
Genre : Religion
File Size : 54. 66 MB
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This ambitious, interdisciplinary book seeks to explain the origins of religion using our knowledge of the evolution of cognition. A cognitive anthropologist and psychologist, Scott Atran argues that religion is a by-product of human evolution just as the cognitive intervention, cultural selection, and historical survival of religion is an accommodation of certain existential and moral elements that have evolved in the human condition.

Evolving God

Author : Barbara J. King
ISBN : 9780226360928
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 61. 20 MB
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Religion has been a central part of human experience since at least the dawn of recorded history. The gods change, as do the rituals, but the underlying desire remains—a desire to belong to something larger, greater, most lasting than our mortal, finite selves. But where did that desire come from? Can we explain its emergence through evolution? Yes, says biological anthropologist Barbara J. King—and doing so not only helps us to understand the religious imagination, but also reveals fascinating links to the lives and minds of our primate cousins. Evolving God draws on King’s own fieldwork among primates in Africa and paleoanthropology of our extinct ancestors to offer a new way of thinking about the origins of religion, one that situates it in a deep need for emotional connection with others, a need we share with apes and monkeys. Though her thesis is provocative, and she’s not above thoughtful speculation, King’s argument is strongly rooted in close observation and analysis. She traces an evolutionary path that connects us to other primates, who, like us, display empathy, make meanings through interaction, create social rules, and display imagination—the basic building blocks of the religious imagination. With fresh insights, she responds to recent suggestions that chimpanzees are spiritual—or even religious—beings, and that our ancient humanlike cousins carefully disposed of their dead well before the time of Neandertals. King writes with a scientist’s appreciation for evidence and argument, leavened with a deep empathy and admiration for the powerful desire to belong, a desire that not only brings us together with other humans, but with our closest animal relations as well.

God Is Not One

Author : Stephen Prothero
ISBN : 9781459602571
Genre :
File Size : 44. 91 MB
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fascinating guide to religion and its place in the world today. In God Is Not One, bestselling author Stephen Prothero makes a fresh and provocative argument that, contrary to popular understanding, all religions are not simply ''different paths to the same God.'' Instead, he shows that the differences between the major religions are far greater than we think: they each ask different questions, tackle different problems, and aim at different goals. God Is Not One highlights the unique aspects of the world's major religions, with chapters on Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoruba religion, Judaism, Daoism and atheism. Lucid and compelling, God Is Not One offers a new understanding of religion for the twenty-first century.

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