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The Emotional Coherence of Religion

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
Author: Paul Thagard
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Abstract

This paper uses a psychological/computational theory of emotional coherence to explain several aspects of religious belief and practice. After reviewing evidence for the importance of emotion to religious thought and cognition in general, it describes psychological and social mechanisms of emotional cognition. These mechanisms are relevant to explaining the acquisition and maintenance of religious belief, and also shed light on such practices as prayer and other rituals. These psychological explanations are contrasted with ones based on biological evolution.

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