The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion

Michael Murray, Jeffrey Schloss, eds. The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion , 2010  Oxford University Press, 384 pages, Bibliography, Index, Paperback (List: $35.00,  Amazon $30.61)

Over the last two decades, scientific accounts of religion have received a great deal of scholarly and popular attention both because of their intrinsic interest and because they are widely as constituting a threat to the religion they analyse. The Believing Primate aims to describe and discuss these scientific accounts as well as to assess their implications. The volume begins with essays by leading scientists in the field, describing these accounts and discussing evidence in their favour. Philosophical and theological reflections on these accounts follow, offered by leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists. This diverse group of scholars address some fascinating underlying questions: Do scientific accounts of religion undermine the justification of religious belief? Do such accounts show religion to be an accidental by-product of our evolutionary development? And, whilst we seem naturally disposed toward religion, would we fare better or worse without it? Bringing together dissenting perspectives, this provocative collection will serve to freshly illuminate ongoing debate on these perennial questions.–Publisher

Jeffrey Schloss is Professor of Biology at Westmont College. Michael Murray is Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor in the Humanities and Philosophy at Franklin and Marshall College.