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Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion
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Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Religion is universal human culture. No phenomenon is more widely shared or more intensely studied, yet there is no agreement on what religion is. Now, in Faces in the Clouds, anthropologist Stewart Guthrie provides a provocative definition of religion in a bold and persuasive new theory.
Guthrie says religion can best be understood as systematic anthropomorphism--that is,
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 4th 1993)
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3.78  · 
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Richard Wu
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stewart Guthrie is the sort of person for whom academics feel compelled to guard their theories with disclaimers, caveats, conditionals, parentheses, reservations, footnotes, and the plethora (yes I am using that word) of other defense mechanisms part and parcel of ivory prose. He is also the sort of person who doggedly insists on sieging these fortresses, regardless of how long it takes, and on doing so with honor; no Trojan horses here. The tightly argued book, with nearly a thousand footnotes ...more
Matthewaqq
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Piaget divides ideas about consciousness into four stages. Children in the first stage (typically up to six or seven years) think anything that is somehow active is conscious. Clouds and wind are conscious because they move and the sun and moon are conscious because they give light. Similarly, a wooden bench feels being burned, a wall feels being knocked down, and a string feels being twisted. Anything that is the seat of some action, feels it. In the second stage, from six or seven years to eig ...more
Jonna Higgins-Freese
I was underwhelmed. Argues that religion is essentially anthropmorphizing natural phenomena, which is a common cognitive strategy and one that usually makes sense in terms of risk/reward (i.e., greater risk of not seeing a person where there is one than seeing one where there's not). I agree that it's a common cognitive strategy; the risk/benefit piece could be argued (all those burned as witches, for example, might have complaints about the tradeoffs made).

And I'm not even sure it's "anthropom
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Anish
Dec 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, philosophy
This book is about Anthropomorphism - The ascription of human characteristics to things not human. Guthrie provides numerous examples and stories to expose the way we define our world.
Adam Lewis
A foundational text for understanding religion. Highly recommended.
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