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Religion, Intolerance, and ConflictA Scientific and Conceptual Investigation$
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Steve Clarke, Russell Powell, and Julian Savulescu

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199640911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640911.001.0001

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The Origin of Religion as a Small-Scale Phenomenon

The Origin of Religion as a Small-Scale Phenomenon

(p.48) 3 The Origin of Religion as a Small-Scale Phenomenon
Religion, Intolerance, and Conflict

R. I. M. Dunbar

Oxford University Press

This chapter suggests that religion arose as a mechanism to facilitate social cohesion in (for primates) unusually large communities in order to ensure that these communities provided the ecological benefits they were intended to provide. It argues that, precisely because religion evolved to bond what were very small scale communities, therein lie some of the tensions that are found in contemporary world religions.

Keywords:   religion, social cohesion, large communities, scale communities

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