Why “Emotions and Religion”?

Though not the first to note that emotions and religion are inextricably linked, Sigmund Freud forcefully argued that religious belief is grounded in emotional or affective dysfunction.  The Future of an Illusion remains a classic work in this vein.  Freud’s ideas, unfortunately, carry with them a normative (and non-empirical) taint which makes them less persuasive than they might otherwise be.  Taking their cue from Freud, but working within the Darwinian tradition, evolutionary psychologists have examined the critical role that emotions play in the origins and sustenance of religion.  Robert Fuller’s Spirituality in the Flesh is but one example of such work, much of which will be assessed in this Category.

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