The Incompleteness of the Evolutionary Psychology Description of Religion

Nicola Hoggard Creegan

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


The Joy of Religion by Ariel Glucklich is a richly textured book. As a Christian theologian I found the descriptions of Jewish and Hindu ritual and theology fascinating. In a world where religion is often disparaged it is encouraging to read a book about how religion is all about joy, and overall how religion is good for the species. The pared down thesis can be understood as saying that religion in all its diverse forms enables and encourages evolved social instincts, pro-social values, and moral sentiments that are advantageous for human survival and fertility. Religions achieve this by means of activities, rituals, play, and a culture within which fleeting sensual pleasures are discouraged in favor of the higher rewards of joy or happiness. They teach and encourage delayed gratification and emphasize mastery of complex skills like prayer, meditation, and ritual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-215
Number of pages5
JournalReligion, Brain and Behaviour
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • psychology
  • religion
  • theology


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