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The Origins of Religion in the Child

David Elkind
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 12, No. 1 (Autumn, 1970), pp. 35-42
DOI: 10.2307/3510932
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3510932
Page Count: 8
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The Origins of Religion in the Child
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Abstract

Religion is here regarded as an externalized adaptation which serves both the individual and society. It is argued that the four major elements of institutional religion--the God concept, Scripture, worship, and theology--provide ready-made solutions to adaptive problems engendered by four cognitive need capacities--the search for conservation, representation, relation, and comprehension--which emerge in the course of mental growth. It is concluded that while religious elements such as the God concept may have arisen, in part at least, out of confrontations between cognitive need capacities and physical or social reality, the religious elements are nonetheless sui generis and are not reducible to the needs and the phenomena that produced them any more than these needs or phenomena are religious in themselves.

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