In recent decades, a new scientiﬁc approach to understand, explain, and predict many features of religion has emerged. The cognitive science of religion (CSR) has amassed research on the forces that shape the tendency for humans to be religious and on what forms belief takes. It suggests that religion, like language or music, naturally emerges in humans with tractable similarities. This new approach has profound implications for how we understand religion, including why it appears so easily, and why people are willing to ﬁght―and die―for it. Yet it is not without its critics, and some fear that scholars are explaining the ineﬀable mystery of religion away, or showing that religion is natural proves or disproves the existence of God.
An Introduction to the Cognitive Science of Religion offers students and general readers an accessible introduction to the approach, providing an overview of key ﬁndings and the debates that shape it. The volume includes a glossary of key terms, and each chapter includes suggestions for further thought and further reading as well as chapter summaries highlighting key points.
This book is an indispensable resource for introductory courses on religion and a much-needed option for advanced courses.