Why minds create gods: Devotion, deception, death, and arational decision making

@article{Atran2004WhyMC,
  title={Why minds create gods: Devotion, deception, death, and arational decision making},
  author={Scott Atran and Ara Norenzayan},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  year={2004},
  volume={27},
  pages={754 - 770}
}
The evolutionary landscape that canalizes human thought and behavior into religious beliefs and practices includes naturally selected emotions, cognitive modules, and constraints on social interactions. Evolutionary by-products, including metacognitive awareness of death and possibilities for deception, further channel people into religious paths. Religion represents a community's costly commitment to a counterintuitive world of supernatural agents who manage people's existential anxieties… 

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