Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Religion motivates, exacerbates, and even justifies violence. This chapter argues that religious beliefs regarding violence—particularly those of monotheistic, Abrahamic faiths—are shaped by evolved psychological mechanisms. Further, it argues that religiously motivated violence is most likely to occur in evolutionarily relevant contexts. Guided by sexual selection theory and parental-investment theory, it first provides an overview of human sexual selection from an evolutionary perspective. It discusses how and why an evolutionary perspective—and principles of sexual selection and parental investment in particular—may provide a richer understanding of religiously motivated violence. Next follows an overview of research addressing several types of religiously motivated violence such as mate guarding and controlling behaviors, wife beating and uxoricide, honor killing, child abuse and filicide, male and female genital mutilation, war, and terrorism. Finally, it highlights the parallels between religiously motivated violence and evolved psychological mechanisms for violence, concluding with suggestions for future research.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology, religion, violence, sexual selection, parental investment

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.