Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought by Pascal Boyer is a great book about a very interesting topic.
It is a book about why most humans are religious. Pascal Boyer takes an evolutionary and cognitive psychology approach to the problem. The discussion in this book about how our mind works was fascinating enough by itself. As a parent, I found the description of how children think and how their thoughts develop as they grow to be the most interesting parts of the book.
Overall, Pascal Boyer explains the development of religious thought in humans in an easily accessible way that a casual reader can understand as well. Therefore, I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in religion and/or cognitive sciences. I must thank Razib for suggesting this book to me and making my thinking about religion so much more coherent.
Here is an article Why is Religion Natural? by Boyer that gives a flavor of the book.
Other interesting works on this topic are:
- In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion by Scott Atran (here is an article by him)
- Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett. Here’s an article about him and his work.
- Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society by David Sloan Wilson
I must note here that religion being natural does not necessarily mean that religion is true.