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Religion Is Not About God

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Religion Is Not About God Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the course of human history, thousands of religious traditions have appeared, each with distinctive patterns of meaning. Some speak of a myriad of gods, others speak of only one, while some recognize no gods at all. Volumes have been written attempting to prove the existence or non-existence of supernatural being(s). But, if religion is not about God, then what on earth is it about? In this provocative book, Loyal Rue contends that religion, very basically, is about us. More specifically, it is a series of strategies that aims to influence human nature so that we might think, feel, and act in ways that are good for us, both individually and collectively. Employing images, symbols, and rituals, religion's main goals are to promote reproductive fitness and survival through the facilitation of harmonious social relations. Rue builds his argument by first assembling a theory of human nature, drawn from recent developments in cognitive science and evolutionary theory. He shows how cognitive and emotional systems work together and how they are conditioned by cultural influences, including religion. He then surveys the major religious traditions--Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism--to show how each, in its own way, has guided human behavior to advance the twin goals of personal fulfillment and social coherence. Rue also considers the prospects for religious traditions in the light of contemporary challenges. As all religions are increasingly faced with a dual crisis of intellectual plausibility and moral relevance, they are being rendered less capable of shaping behavior in ways that are usefully adaptive. Rue warns that when religions outlive their adaptive utility, theybecome positive threats to human survival. Despite its bold and ambitious goals, this book is hostile to neither the idea of God nor religious life in general. Rue acknowledges that both can coexist with the idea of religion as a natural phenomenon. Written respectfully thr

Book News Annotation:

Religion is about manipulating our brains so that we might think, feel, and act in ways that are good for us, both individually and collectively, says Rue (philosophy and religion, Luther College, Iowa). To back up his radical claim, he shows how ideas, images, symbols, and rituals of the major religious traditions have been designed to engage and organize human neural systems for the sake of human survival. He also examines the contemporary conditions that have compromised their adaptive utility.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Thousands of religious traditions have appeared over the course of human history but only a relative few have survived. Some speak of a myriad of gods, others of only one, and some recognize no gods at all. Volumes have been written attempting to prove the existence or nonexistence of supernatural being(s). So, if religion is not about God, then what is it about?

In this provocative book, Loyal Rue contends that religion, very basically, is about us. Successful religions are narrative (myth) traditions that influence human nature so that we might think, feel, and act in ways that are good for us, both individually and collectively. Through the use of images, symbols, and rituals, religion promotes reproductive fitness and survival through the facilitation of harmonious social relations. Drawing on examples from the major traditions—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism—Rue shows how each religion, in its own way, has guided human behavior to advance the twin goals of personal fulfillment and social coherence.

As all faiths are increasingly faced with a crisis of intellectual plausibility and moral relevance, this book presents a compelling and positive view of the centrality and meaning of religion.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780813535111
Author:
Rue, Loyal D.
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Author:
Rue, Loyal
Subject:
General
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Psychology of Religion
Subject:
Religion & Science
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20041131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
408
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in 1.56 lb

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Philosophy General
Religion » Spirituality » General
Religion » World Religions » Religion and Science

Religion Is Not About God New Hardcover
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Product details 408 pages Rutgers University Press - English 9780813535111 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

Thousands of religious traditions have appeared over the course of human history but only a relative few have survived. Some speak of a myriad of gods, others of only one, and some recognize no gods at all. Volumes have been written attempting to prove the existence or nonexistence of supernatural being(s). So, if religion is not about God, then what is it about?

In this provocative book, Loyal Rue contends that religion, very basically, is about us. Successful religions are narrative (myth) traditions that influence human nature so that we might think, feel, and act in ways that are good for us, both individually and collectively. Through the use of images, symbols, and rituals, religion promotes reproductive fitness and survival through the facilitation of harmonious social relations. Drawing on examples from the major traditions—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism—Rue shows how each religion, in its own way, has guided human behavior to advance the twin goals of personal fulfillment and social coherence.

As all faiths are increasingly faced with a crisis of intellectual plausibility and moral relevance, this book presents a compelling and positive view of the centrality and meaning of religion.

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