Religion and Art

A Cognitive and Evolutionary Approach


  • Stewart Elliott Guthrie Fordham University



Religion, Art, Cognition, Evolution, Anthropomorphism, Theory


Religion and art both have resisted scientific analysis and even definition. Multi-disciplinary research on these two and on cognition, however, supports particular definitions and analyses of both terms by setting them in a context of evolved strategies for dealing with cognitive uncertainty. In my view, what religion and art most importantly share is their attempt (shared also by science) to make sense of the world, and their Pascal?s Wager-like strategy (nominally not shared by science) of doing so first by positing human characteristics in non-human phenomena. This necessary, better-safe-than-sorry strategy cross-culturally results in representing the world as humanlike.

Author Biography

Stewart Elliott Guthrie, Fordham University

Stewart Elliot Guthrie is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University, USA.


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How to Cite

Guthrie, S. E. (2015). Religion and Art: A Cognitive and Evolutionary Approach. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 9(3), 283–311.