D, and nontheist Friends,
Thanks for the heads up to Wilson's "Darwin's Cathedral" - which is also here at the Religious Studies's subject at World University and School - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Religious_Studies, with other interesting, rigorous, related, evolutionary biological approaches to explaining religion, among other resources. I found Scott Atran's "In God's We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion" also edifying. He uses the metaphor of landscape to offer an in-depth, evolutionary biological, interpretation of religion and its widespreadness (and why humans' seem to be 'trip-wired' for the 'God' word, for example), partly because the language of evolutionary biological knowledge, from his perspective, led him to metaphor - he couldn't find more, or better, scientific, or anthropological, language (he's a cognitive anthropologist). I'm so glad we're living in a time when such evolutionary biological approaches to explaining religion are emerging, but I think there's a LOT of potential for creative, biological thinking ahead.
I still see a gulf between evolutionary biology giving rise to 3-100 million species (lots of genetic replication and speciation, to say the least) and the sociocultural processes that seem to inform religion the 7-8 great religions of, say, Huston Smith's "Religions of Man," who also greatly appreciates the significance of psychedelics vis-a-vis religion (see Don Lattin's 'The Harvard Psychedelic Club," for example, who was the religion and spirituality editor at the SF Chronicle for around 2 decades ... somehow psychedelics are particularly a SF Bay Area spiritual thing :). Although we're just beginning to tease out sociocultural processes vis-a-vis evolutionary biology, I think we (scientifically minded) have a long way to go to offer convincing accounts (especially of the myriad of negative aspects in religion), even given the 'beginning science of religion' books at WUaS Religious Studies' subject, for example. And memes (replicating, cultural 'units') are very logical, socioculturally, in a sense, to complement the genetic success of 3-100 million species over some 3.5 billion years.
To welcome and cultivate the 'love' aspect, which I see as a part of religion, in terms of other social relatednesses, or connectednesses, together with its warm, affective qualities of personalization, and community, seems possible without the words above (God, worship, religion, spirituality, soul, etc.) which I find problematic (but not everybody does), seems to be something nontheist Friends may be exploring, in language, in part. I'm certainly interested in questions of love, and its experience. Perhaps this can lead to kinds of nontheistically Friendly biological, tenderizing, and sympathies.
... Space for further exploration ...
All the best,
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2011/04/glaucothoe-gulf-between-evolutionary.html - April 22, 2011)