Cognitive Regeneration and the Noetic Effects of Sin: Why Theology and Cognitive Science May not be Compatible




Cognitive science of religion, Noetic effects of sin, sensus divinitatis, Reformed epistemology, Prejudice, Evolution of religion


Justin Barrett and Kelly James Clark have suggested that cognitive science of religion supports the existence of a god-faculty akin to sensus divinitatis. They propose that God may have given rise to the god-faculty via guided evolution. This suggestion raises two theological worries. First, our natural cognition seems to favor false god-beliefs over true ones. Second, it also makes us prone to tribalism. If God hates idolatry and moral evil, why would he give rise to mind with such biases? A Plantingian response would point to the noetic effects of sin. Such a response, however, would have to assume that God is restoring the minds of believers. This paper considers empirical reasons to doubt that such a process is taking place.

Author Biography

Lari Launonen, University of Helsinki

Doctoral student, Department of Systematic Theology


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How to Cite

Launonen, Lari. 2021. “Cognitive Regeneration and the Noetic Effects of Sin: Why Theology and Cognitive Science May Not Be Compatible”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (3).



Research Articles