Gods as ‘Watchers’ Who Monitor Our Behavior

Ara Norenzayan’s book ‘Big Gods’ (2013)

What purpose is served by belief in God? Ara Norenzayan gives one answer in his book Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict.

When we claim to have such a belief, we imply we believe we’re being watched. By asserting our belief in God, Norenzayan says, we send the signal to other people that we are less likely to lie, cheat, or steal because we fear that we will face supernatural consequences.

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Tucker Lieberman

Tucker Lieberman

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