International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 77–98

Does cognitive science show belief in god to be irrational? The epistemic consequences of the cognitive science of religion


DOI: 10.1007/s11153-011-9300-y

Cite this article as:
Thurow, J.C. Int J Philos Relig (2013) 74: 77. doi:10.1007/s11153-011-9300-y


The last 15 years or so has seen the development of a fascinating new area of cognitive science: the cognitive science of religion (CSR). Scientists in this field aim to explain religious beliefs and various other religious human activities by appeal to basic cognitive structures that all humans possess. The CSR scientific theories raise an interesting philosophical question: do they somehow show that religious belief, more specifically belief in a god of some kind, is irrational? In this paper I investigate this question and argue that CSR does not show that belief in god is irrational.


Religious epistemologyCognitive scienceRationalityJustificationReligious skepticism

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMount Marty CollegeYanktonUSA