David Sloan Wilson’s Group Selection Theory of Religion: Analysis and Possible Christian Responses

Tim Morris

Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson has put forward a functional theory of religion which holds that religious belief and practice are “good” for believers in biological terms. In his view, religious beliefs are attached to reality via this benefit, even though they are fictional in a strict sense. He claims that his group selection-based explanation of religion does not undermine religious belief, but rather encourages us to value religious systems and to “pay them homage with overflowing belief.” Tim Morris examines Wilson’s proposals and explores Christian responses to them in terms of Richard Niebuhr’s classic Christ and Culture categories. Mr. Morris is Professor of Biology at Covenant College.

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Last Updated: January 1, 2010
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