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Excellent BeautyThe Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World$
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Eric Dietrich

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171021

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171021.001.0001

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Beyond Atheism

Beyond Atheism

The Religion Illusion

(p.93) Eight Beyond Atheism
Excellent Beauty

Eric Dietrich

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues that religions are but illusions. After concluding that humans are religious because of an evolutionary imperative to be so, the chapter asserts that given this argument, religions do not, in and of themselves, exist. Religious people certainly exist, but what we call religion is people engaged in various rituals at various times of the year and at various stages of their lives, wearing various ritualistic clothing, and uttering various words and phrases. In short, religion is a performance, a kind of vast pretending so complete that most of us cannot even see the pretense, as it is fueled solely by our genetic makeup and our group membership.

Keywords:   religions, religious people, genetic makeup, illusions, rituals, performance

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