eTextbook: Big Gods

Not Yet Available

This book is not yet available in the Kno Bookstore.

Please enter your email address if you would like us to notify you when this book is available.

*No obligation to purchase

Are you a school looking to buy multiple copies of this book?

  • Free Book Promotion

    For a limited time, this book is eligible for free.

    Click here to redeem the Facebook Offer

    Author(s): Norenzayan, Ara

    ISBN 10: 0691151210. See all ISBN's

    ISBN 13: 9780691151212

    Edition:

    Publisher: Princeton University Press

    This is an eTextbook Learn More

    Description:

    How did human societies scale up from small, tight-knit groups of hunter-gatherers to the large, anonymous, cooperative societies of today--even though anonymity is the enemy of cooperation? How did organized religions with "Big Gods"--the great monotheistic and polytheistic faiths--spread to colonize most minds in the world? In Big Gods, Ara Norenzayan makes the surprising and provocative argument that these fundamental puzzles about the origins of civilization are one and the same, and answer each other.

    Once human minds could conceive of supernatural beings, Norenzayan argues, the stage was set for rapid cultural and historical changes that eventually led to large societies with Big Gods--powerful, omniscient, interventionist deities concerned with regulating the moral behavior of humans. How? As the saying goes, "watched people are nice people." It follows that people play nice when they think Big Gods are watching them, even when no one else is. Yet at the same time that sincere faith in Big Gods unleashed unprecedented cooperation within ever-expanding groups, it also introduced a new source of potential conflict between competing groups.

    In some parts of the world, such as northern Europe, secular institutions have precipitated religion's decline by usurping its community-building functions. These societies with atheist majorities--some of the most cooperative, peaceful, and prosperous in the world--climbed religion's ladder, and then kicked it away. So while Big Gods answers fundamental questions about the origins and spread of world religions, it also helps us understand another, more recent social transition--the rise of cooperative societies without belief in gods.

    All ISBN's for this title:

    ISBN 10: 0691151210, ISBN 13: 9780691151212, eISBN 10: 1400848326, eISBN 13: 9781400848324

    1. List price can refer to either the digital or print list price, whichever is available to Kno.
  • Cool Product Features

    Kno In Action

    Search

    Journal

    Flashcards

    Kno Me

    Smart Links