Fostering Sharedness in Religious Communities
Benjamin Grant Purzycki [+]
Richard Sosis [+]
University of Connecticut
Chapter 7 emphasizes cases where religions facilitate adaptive behaviors in the diverse environments that humans inhabit. Here we examine how religious systems, which are composed of a number of interacting components, generate these adaptive response patterns. We contend that religious systems accomplish this by: (1) employing highly flexible cognitive mechanisms, (2) evoking emotional responses that provide reliable information concerning individual physical and psychological states, (3) supporting specialists who introduce religious ideas that endorse and sustain the social order, and (4) encouraging collective acceptance of these ideas with public displays, typically in the form of rituals, badges, and taboos. These interacting components of religious systems ultimately promote prosocial behavior under diverse conditions.