Questionable Motives

December 7, 2009

Is religious belief part of our biology?

The nonuniversality of strong religious devotion, and the ease with large populations abandon serious theism when conditions are sufficiently benign, refute hypotheses that religious belief and practice are the normal, deeply set human mental state, whether they are superficial or natural in nature. Instead popular religion is usually a superficial and flexible psychological mechanism for coping with the high levels of stress and anxiety produced by sufficiently dysfunctional social and especially economic environments. Popular nontheism is a similarly casual response to superior conditions.

From the evolutionary psychology paper here.

1 Comment »

  1. Can you take a look at my Religion and Spirituality post? It has some similar ideas to this, but is more philosophical I guess you could say. I am writing an essay on evolutionary psychology at the moment actually in my Society class, so I’m pretty interested in this stuff right now haha :p.

    “As for your political or religious beliefs (if you have them), they possess you because they improve your chances of survival or that of the group to which you belong. You haven’t chosen them; they have chosen you.” (

    I think maybe religion could be an evolutionary adaptation. Definitely an interesting topic.

    Comment by philosophe007 — December 7, 2009 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

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