An audio version of the conversation is online at my Talks and Thoughts podcast, available via your podcast feed, and also at the Church Times podcast on soundcloud.
The scientific study of religion has produced numerous accounts for the evolutionary origins of a sense of the numinous in Homo sapiens. Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford, is in the vanguard of plausible theories, not least as explored in his new book, How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures.
In this interview, for the Church Times podcast, we explore his ideas and their ramifications:
– how the religiosity of Homo sapiens exceeds others Homo species
– how mystical experience is the “motor” of religious forms
– the role of religion in the emergence of complex societies
– why cults exist and the links between religion and violence
– how religious diversity offers a shared sacred story for humanity.
My essay on trance states and the origins of religions is published by Aeon.