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date: 19 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Modern world religions are steeped in moralizing. This chapter argues that this conspicuous feature of religion can be explained by the common functions of both religion and morality to regulate individuals’ behavior in the ultimate service of the group. Cultural evolution selected for religious elements that synergistically work together to morally compel individuals to (1) engage in prosocial behavior toward in-group members, and (2) form large and monogamous families. The chapter reviews the psychological and anthropological literature on how religion contributes to generosity, trust, prejudice, fertility, and monogamy. Finally, it discusses how this religiously entwined morality differs from that of the nonreligious.

Keywords: religion, morality, evolution, cultural evolution, sacred values

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