This book takes a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approach to religion, religiosity and theology from their earliest beginnings to the present day. It uniquely brings together the natural sciences and theology to explore how religious practice emerged and developed through the four sections into which the book is organized: Evolutionary biology; Philosophical linguistics, psychology and neuroscience; Theology and Anthropology.

The volume features an international panel of contributors who develop an innovative picture of religion as a culturally-created social institution; religiosity as a more personal and subjective anthropological element of people expressed through religion; and theology as the study of god. To survive in changing times, living systems — a good characterization of religion, religiosity and theology — all must adaptively evolve.

This is a vital study of a rapidly burgeoning field. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars in religious studies and theology as well as in the psychological, sociological, and anthropological study of religion.

chapter |17 pages


A Multilevel and Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding Religion and Its Evolution

part 2|85 pages

Philosophy of Language, Psychology and Neuroscience

chapter 5|17 pages

A History of the Evolution of Religion

From Religion to Religiosity to the Processes of Believing

chapter 6|16 pages

The Processes of Believing in Religion’s Evolution

A Cognitive Neuroscience Hypothesis

chapter 7|18 pages

Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in Sensing the Divine

One Foundational Role in Religion’s Evolution

chapter 8|16 pages

Awe as a Meaning-Making Emotion

On the Evolution of Awe and the Origin of Religions

chapter 9|16 pages

Whence This Need for Salvation?

Childhood Corporal Punishment and the Cultural Evolution of Religious Myth

part 3|65 pages


chapter 11|15 pages

The Evolution of Religiosity

A Theologian’s View

chapter 12|16 pages

Neoteny and Homo Religiosus

Brain Evolution and Emergence of the Capacity for Spirituality

part 4|53 pages


chapter 14|17 pages

The Evolution of Hunter-Gatherer Religion

Issues and Debates among the San of Southern Africa

chapter 15|15 pages

Bones, Pigments, Art and Symbols

Archaeological Evidence for the Origins of Religion

chapter 16|14 pages

Every Kingdom Divided Against Itself

The Evolution of Christianity

chapter |5 pages