Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality

Nature Vol/Iss. 530 (7590) Nature Publishing Group Published In Pages: 327-330
By Purzycki, Benjamin Grant, Apicella, Coren, Atkinson, Quentin D., Cohen, Emma, McNamara, Rita Anne, Willard, Aiyana K., Xygalatas, Dimitris, Norenzayan, Ara, Henrich, Joseph


Does belief in moralizing and punitive gods promote sociality between coreligionists who are otherwise strangers? A recent dataset of behavioral economic experiment results and demographic and religious data among eight disparate populations allows the researchers to test their hypothesis of a positive association between deity's perceived interest in human morality and favorability of treatment of outsiders who share a religion. Their findings mostly support this hypothesis, which they suggest lends credibility to a theory in which religion encourages cooperation between large groups of people, and is thus a successful product of cultural evolution.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:jack.dunnington