Is religion natural?

International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 81 (4):343-350 (2020)
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Abstract

Why is religion such a widespread human experience? In enlightenment Scotland, philosophers had already attempted to answer this question turning to natural histories of mankind, and to a careful analysis of the human mind and of those cognitive capacities responsible for religious-type beliefs and attitudes. This early approach is also echoed today, as scholars from the cognitive sciences seek to show how religious-type beliefs and practices are produced either directly or as a by-product of natural cognitive processes. Others continue to study the dependence of religious beliefs on cultural traditions, symbolic meanings and ritualistic practices. The authors of this special issue continue this discussion, focusing on specific topics and challenges posed by current studies on religion as a natural phenomenon.

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Author Profiles

Esther Kroeker
University of Antwerp
Willem Lemmens
University of Antwerp

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