The Roots of Religion

Exploring the Cognitive Science

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Roger Trigg, Justin L. Barrett
Routledge Science and Religion Series
  • New York, NY: 
    , February
     242 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Edward Surman forthcoming.


The cognitive science of religion is a new discipline that looks at the roots of religious belief in the cognitive architecture of the human mind. The Roots of Religion deals with the philosophical and theological implications of the cognitive science of religion which grounds religious belief in human cognitive structures: religious belief is ’natural’, in a way that even scientific thought is not. Does this new discipline support religious belief, undermine it, or is it, despite many claims, perhaps eventually neutral? This subject is of immense importance, particularly given the rise of the ’new atheism’. Philosophers and theologians from North America, UK and Australia, explore the alleged conflict between truth claims and examine the roots of religion in human nature. Is it less ’natural’ to be an atheist than to believe in God, or gods? On the other hand, if we can explain theism psychologically, have we explained it away. Can it still claim any truth? This book debates these and related issues.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Roger Trigg is emeritus professor of philosophy, University of Warwick, and senior research fellow at the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford. He was the Founding President of the British Society of the Philosophy of Religion, and from 2008-10 was President of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion. The author of many books on the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science, his most recent have been Equality, Freedom and Religion (2012) and Religious Diversity: Philosophical and Political Dimensions (2014).

Justin L. Barrett is the Thrive Professor of Developmental Science at Fuller Seminary’s Graduate School of Psychology, where he directs the Thrive Center for Human Development. He is also a research associate of Oxford University’s School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography. He is author of scores of academic articles and book chapters concerning cognitive science of religion and three books: Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (2004); Cognitive Science, Religion, & Theology (2011); and Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Beliefs (2012).

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments