Religion provides an evolutionary advantage
Some scientists argue that religion arose because it provides a direct evolutionary advantage to believers. Religion is costly in resources and time.
- "From an evolutionary standpoint, the reasons for why religion should not exist are patent: Religion is materially expensive and it is unrelentingly counterfactual and even counterintuitive. Religious practice is costly in terms of material sacrifice (at least one’s prayer time), emotional expenditure (inciting fears and hopes), and cognitive effort (maintaining both factual and counterintuitive networks of beliefs). "
If there was no corresponding benefit, religion would be a evolutionary disadvantage and be selected against in later generations. Since it appears this has not happened, we should expect religion to provide some evolutionary benefits to counterbalance its costs.
- Religion is a product of evolution, software suggests, New Scientist, 27 May 2008