One reasonable response to the vast enterprise of comparing religions, their institutions and the behaviour of their followers is a nagging doubt: after all this, is there much difference among the world religions, or indeed between the world religions on one hand, and the innumerable polytheistic and pagan forms across the planet? Recent work in cognitive psychology applied to religion, especially that of Boyer and Atran (Boyer, 2001; Atran, 2003), both strongly influenced by Sperber (Sperber, 1996), has made a strong case for the claim that practices which, taken together, have come to be classified and bundled together as “religious”, can be explained in terms of human evolution

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