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Are gods and good governments culturally and psychologically interchangeable?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 March 2016

Robert N. McCauley*
Affiliation:
Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322. philrnm@emory.edu https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/robertnmccauley/

Abstract

Cognitive by-product theorists maintain that standard cognitive development facilitates the acquisition of religion. Citing secularization, Norenzayan et al. qualify that theory, proposing that gods and good governments are psychologically and culturally interchangeable. That contention, though, occasions questions about the psychological dynamics involved, about what qualifies as religiosity, and about asymmetries between gods and good governments in the face of catastrophes.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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References

Boyer, P. (2001) Religion explained. The evolutionary origins of religious thought. Basic Books.Google Scholar
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Kay, A. C., Gaucher, D., Napier, J. L., Callan, M. J. & Laurin, K. (2008) God and the government: Testing a compensatory control mechanism for the support of external systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 95:1835.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
McCauley, R. N. (2011) Why religion is natural and science is not. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
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