Cognitive science of religion and the nature of the divine: A pluralist non-confessional approach

In Jerry L. Martin (ed.), Theology without walls: The transreligious imperative. New York, USA: Taylor and Francis. pp. 128-137 (2020)
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According to cognitive science of religion (CSR) people naturally veer toward beliefs that are quite divergent from Anselmian monotheism or Christian theism. Some authors have taken this view as a starting point for a debunking argument against religion, while others have tried to vindicate Christian theism by appeal to the noetic effects of sin or the Fall. In this paper, we ask what theologians can learn from CSR about the nature of the divine, by looking at the CSR literature and what it identifies as commonalities across religions. We use a pluralist, non-confessional approach to outline properties of the divine. We connect our approach to Hick’s religious pluralism, Ramakrishna’s realization of God through multiple spiritual paths, and Gellman’s inexhaustible plenitude.
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