Evolved to be Religious




I ran across this 2005 article by Paul Bloom for the Atlantic Monthly the other day. It’s interesting not only how well he understood the trends at the time but how tightly philosophy of religion has moved along the path he suggests.

“Others have argued that rather than believing in an afterlife because we are dualists, we are dualists because we want to believe in an afterlife. This was Freud’s position. He speculated that the "doctrine of the soul" emerged as a solution to the problem of death: if souls exist, then conscious experience need not come to an end. Or perhaps the motivation for belief in an afterlife is cultural: we believe it because religious authorities tell us that it is so, possibly because it serves the interests of powerful leaders to control the masses through the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell. But there is reason to favor the religion-as-accident theory.”

Worth re-reading if you’ve read it before.

Full article.