In the Name of God
The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Ethics and Violence
Blackwell Public Philosophy Series
1. Edition April 2010
2010. 288 Pages, Hardcover
ISBN 978-1-4051-8382-6 - John Wiley & Sons
Also available as Softcover.
E-Books are also available on all known E-Book shops.
Religion is one of the most powerful forces running through humanhistory, and although often presented as a force for good, itsimpact is frequently violent and divisive. This provocative workbrings together cutting-edge research from both evolutionary andcognitive psychology to help readers understand the psychologicalstructure of religious morality and the origins of religiousviolence.* Introduces a fundamentally new approach to the analysis ofreligion in a style accessible to the general reader* Applies insights from evolutionary and cognitive psychology toboth Judaism and Christianity, and their texts, to help understandthe origins of religious violence* Argues that religious violence is grounded in the moralpsychology of religion* Illustrates its controversial argument with reference to the9/11 terrorist attacks, and the response to the attacks from boththe terrorists and the President. Suggests strategies for beginningto counter the divisive aspects of religion* Discusses the role of religion and religious criticism in thecontemporary world. Argues for a position sceptical of the moralauthority of religion, while also critiquing the excesses of the"new atheists" for failing to appreciate the moralcontributions of religion* Awarded Honourable Mention, 2010 Prose Awards
From the contents
Acknowledgments.Introduction: Evolution and Mind.1. The Evolution of Morality.Setting the Task.The Moral Brain.The First Layer: Kin Selection.The Second Layer: Reciprocal Altruism.A Third Layer: Indirect Reciprocity.A Fourth Layer: Cultural Group Selection.A Fifth Layer: The Moral Emotions.Conclusion: From Moral Grammar to Moral Systems.2. The Evolution of Moral Religions.Setting the Task.The Evolution of the Religious Mind.Conceptualizing the Almighty.The Moral Function of Gods.3. Evolutionary Religious Ethics: Judaism.Setting the Task.Constructing Yahweh.The Ten Commandments: An Evolutionary Interpretation.Conclusion: The Evolved Law.4. Evolutionary Religious Ethics:Christianity.Setting the Task.Constructing the Christ.Setting the Boundaries: Christian and/or Jew?.The Third Race: Christians as In-Group.Putting on Christ: Christianity's Signals ofCommitment.Loving Your Neighbor and Turning the Other Cheek.5. Religion, Violence, and the Evolved Mind.Setting the Task.Devoted to Destruction: Sanctified Violence and Judaism.The Blood of the Lamb.A Case Study in the Evolved Psychology of Religious Violence:9/11.6. Religion Evolving.Setting the Task.Varieties of Religious Expressions.If There Were No God ....Religion, Ethics, and Violence: An Assessment.Responding to Religion, Ethics, and Violence: SomeProposals.Conclusions.Notes.Bibliography.Index.