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Why Gods Persist


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Table of Contents

List of illustrations Acknowledgements Preface 1. Religion and science: the questions 2. Some background issues 3. What does it mean to say 'I believe?' 4. What are gods like? 5. The development of beliefs 6. Why do people believe in gods? 7. The dynamics of belief and its relation to the social system 8. Narratives 9. Ritual: background considerations 1.0 The form and sequence of ritual: magic 1.1 The motivation and consequences of ritual 12. Moral codes: background considerations 13. Prosocial behaviour and reciprocity 14. Other moral precepts 15. Religious experience 16. Social aspects of religious systems 17. Why do religious systems persist? 18. Where do we go from here? Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

University of Cambridge, UK


'Robert Hinde, the respected elder statesman of the science in which I was trained, is a passionate humanitarian, of mature wisdom and legendarily sharp intellect. Though no more religious than I am, he is penetratingly critical of the approach that I and others have taken, and we have to listen to him. He makes the convincing case that it is not enough to be against religion. Whether or not you call it a delusion (as I would, but he would be too polite), you have to understand its attractions and its motivations. Robert Hinde is superbly qualified to aid our understanding.' - Richard Dawkins, formerly Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, University of Oxford

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