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The Emergence Of Early Christian Religion: A Naturalistic Approach

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Chapter Summary

This chapter assesses some algorithmic models of social behavior for understanding religiosity and looks for ways of applying such models to the emergence of early Christian religion. It operates especially within the theoretical framework of distributed, self-organizing, and dynamical systems. The chapter puts forward the hypothesis that religious ideas emerge as a necessary consequence of the sophisticated "flocking" rules of human societies. It outlines the concept of distributed systems, identifies four major components of religion, namely religious experience, beliefs, texts and rituals, and explains why a distributed systems approach is needed. The chapter gives examples of applying such an approach to religion, including observations about early Christianity. It also states that the model of religion outlined can also be approached as a distributed system, particularly in the sense of "unprogrammed functionality". Finally, the chapter presents some methodological observations.

Keywords: early Christian religion; religious experience; religious ideas; social behaviour



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