Monthly Archives: August 2020

Reflecting on the Scientific Study of Religion After Nearly a Decade of Religion, Brain & Behavior

A decade ago, Religion, Brain & Behavior (RBB) was still a dream in the minds of its founding editors, neuroscientist Patrick McNamara, anthropologist Richard Sosis, and philosopher of religion Wesley J. Wildman. No journal dedicated to the cognitive, evolutionary, and neurological study of religion existed at the time, and the editorial team had considerable difficulty finding a publisher who would buy into the idea.[1] Eventually, Taylor and Francis agreed to publish RBB, and the first issue came out in April 2011, adorned then as today with William Blake’s “Web of Religion,” a painting that captures “the restless, promethean nature of religion,” in the words of RBB’s first editorial.[2] Today, out of 594 religious studies journals, RBB has the second highest CiteScore, a metric that ranks journals by the number of citations articles receive on average each year. With my curiosity piqued by this dramatic ascendancy, I asked to interview the current editors—Sosis, Wildman, philosopher and sociologist Joseph Bulbulia, and neuroscientist Uffe Schjoedt—about RBB and the scientific study of religion more generally.

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An Interview with Taylor Thomas about Naturalizing Grace

Taylor Thomas is a PhD student in theology, ethics, and philosophy at Boston University School of Theology and a Lindamood Fellow at the Center for Mind and Culture. Below is Dave Rohr’s interview with Taylor regarding her recent publication of “Hope in Imperfection: Toward a Naturalized Theology of Grace” in the American Journal of Theology and Philosophy.

Dave Rohr:

So my first question is, were you raised religious? And, if so, how did you come to be embrace philosophical naturalism?

Taylor Thomas:

I was raised Southern Baptist, as deeply Southern Baptist as you can get, with a little bit of Pentecostal and nondenominational holiness tossed in there every other Sunday. And then when I got to college, I did the normal take a few philosophy and religion courses and question everything, you know, God is dead, etc. And when I got to Boston University, I met up with Wesley Wildman and he introduced me to religious naturalism and I kinda felt at home there. Continue reading