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April 07 , 2011

In the Name of God

The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Ethics and Violence


Religion is one of the most powerful forces running through human history, and although often presented as a force for good, its impact is frequently violent and divisive. This provocative work brings together cutting-edge research from both evolutionary and cognitive psychology to help readers understand the psychological structure of religious morality and the origins of religious violence.
  • Introduces a fundamentally new approach to the analysis of religion in a style accessible to the general reader
  • Applies insights from evolutionary and cognitive psychology to both Judaism and Christianity, and their texts, to help understand the origins of religious violence
  • Argues that religious violence is grounded in the moral psychology of religion
  • Illustrates its controversial argument with reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the response to the attacks from both the terrorists and the President. Suggests strategies for beginning to counter the divisive aspects of religion
  • Discusses the role of religion and religious criticism in the contemporary world. Argues for a position sceptical of the moral authority of religion, while also critiquing the excesses of the “new atheists” for failing to appreciate the moral contributions of religion
  • Awarded Honourable Mention, 2010 Prose Awards
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