The Mostly Mundane Nature of Religious Belief
This chapter deals with the issue of counterintuition in religious beliefs. Core religious beliefs minimally violate ordinary intuition about how the world is, with all of its inescapable problems, thus enabling people to imagine minimally impossible worlds that appear to solve existential problems, including death and deception. The dual aspect of supernatural beliefs, commonsensical and counterfactual, renders them intuitively compelling yet fantastic, eminently recognizable but surprising. Such beliefs grab attention, activate intuition, and mobilize inference in ways that greatly facilitate their mnemonic retention, social transmission, cultural selection, and historical survival. There is considerable recurrence of symbolic content across historical isolated cultures.
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