Journal article

Gods Above: Naturalizing Religion in Terms of our Shared Ape Social Dominance Behavior

John S Wilkins

SOPHIA | SPRINGER | Published : 2015

Abstract

To naturalize religion, we must identify what religion is, and what aspects of it we are trying to explain. In this paper, religious social institutional behavior is the explanatory target, and an explanatory hypothesis based on shared primate social dominance psychology is given. The argument is that various religious features, including the high status afforded the religious, and the high status afforded to deities, are an expression of this social dominance psychology in a context for which it did not evolve: high-density populations made possible by agriculture.