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Malevich, T. V., Folieva, T. A. ‘Naturality’ of Religion and ‘Natural Religion’ in Cognitive Religious Studies

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2014-11 in rubric "Philosophy of religion", pages 1605-1617.

Resume: The subject of the present article is the thesis on ‘naturality’ of religion offered by cognitive religious studies. The main idea is that religion is a resulting function of ordinary cognitive processes and therefore exists at the two parallel levels of conceptualization of religious concepts. The first level is presented by complex and abstract notions relevant to doctrinal formulas of particular religious traditions while the second level consists of simple and ‘incorrect’ (from the doctrinal point of view) notions expressing natural tendencies of our thinking and constituting ‘natural religion’. Analyzing the formation and development of the concept of ‘natural religiosity’ in cognitive religious studies, the authors define the methodological and heuristic potential of the concept and offer a definition of ‘natural religion’ from the point of view of cognitive paradigm. Introduction of the concept of ‘natural religiosity’ reveals new opportunities for experimental researches of the processes of formation and transformation of religious notions and allows to deal with the question about the relation between religious and atheistic world views at a new level. The idea of ‘natural religion’ also seems to be quite useful. It is used as an important heuristic instrument in comparative researches describing the phenomenon of ‘people’s’ religion and explaining digressions from the official teaching of this or that religious tradition.

Keywords: cognitive religious studies, natural religion, religiosity, intuitive ontology, genesis of religious concepts, counter intuitivity, theological inaccuracy, super-natural concepts, anthropomorphism, agent.

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2014.11.13380

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