Ivy - from anthropology to cognitive science - interesting journey! I got to meet a cultural anthropologist from the missions department at Asbury last fall, its nice to see the Christians represent themselves in the field. Owen Barfield’s “Saving the Appearances” is on my list of “should try to read sometime” for summer - sort of anthropological I believe.
(spoiler alert sorry this may ramble a little bit! )
(here is a wiki soundbite on it: Saving the Appearances has in common with some thoughts of Teilhard de Chardin the understanding of idols as appearances having nothing within. “[A] representation, which is collectively mistaken for an ultimate – ought not to be called a representation. It is an idol. Thus the phenomena themselves are idols, when they are imagined as enjoying that independence of human perception which can in fact only pertain to the unrepresented.” )
I think it is in "Myth became fact’ essay of Lewis’s in God in the Dock where he states something like "if other religions’s mythological structure (dying god coming back to life, reinvigorating a dying creation thereby), then ‘so much the better for them’ not ‘the worse for Christianity.’ (actually, I think that’s a quote from a letter or something.
But in mainstream religions - Judeo-Christian and Hinduism(/Buddhism)Lewis at one point said they all boiled down to, one or the other. The exact mythological form is maybe not always as above (‘dying and rising god’) though he did state (very end of "Christian Apologetics’ essay in God in the Dock) that all universal religions need to have a “clear” ethical formulation, as well as address the mysteries of existence, a “thick” ness - clear and thick. Voodoo religions have the latter, atheists may claim to ahve the former, but only Christian and Hindu systems he claimed had both. But the Christian faith had so much more history on its side seemed one of the main reasons he chose that one after becoming convinced that some Gopd (or other) was real (see SUrprised by Joy). Sorry, I slip into CS Lewis course regurgitation mode sometimes - it was part of our online apologetics program at Houston Baptist … but cool stuff.
I was going to also try to go Daniel Dennett with your cognitive science remark (or, bring him in), but I know little from him. On the other hand, a Philosophy course I recently took online had this interesting summary of Pope John Paul’s summary of faith and reason - Fides et ratio - can be found. Below are some quotes from it, the main point of it all being: faith/revelation and reason - they complement each other. Modern trends towards epistemology and knowing capture just part of the picture, you need a more (medieval? ancient) inclusion of the study of being (Being) - to supplement such excursions into human rationality as Dennett does. (http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091998_fides-et-ratio.html )
“Through philosophy’s work, the ability to speculate which is proper to the human intellect produces a rigorous mode of thought.” – “a core … principles of noncontradiction, finality, causality, as well as the concept of the person as a free and intelligent subject, with the capacity to know God, truth and goodness.” (4) “at the same time, the Church considers philosophy an indispensable help for a deeper understanding of the faith and for communicating the truth of the gospel to those who do not yet know it.”
“must not obscure the fact that reason, in its one-sided concern to investigate human subjectivity, seems to have forgotten that men and women are always called to direct their steps towards a truth which transcends them.” “Abandoning the investigation of being, modern philosophical research has concentrated instead upon human knowing. Rather than make use of the capacity to know the truth, modern philosophy has instead preferred to accentuate the ways in which this capacity is limited and conditioned.” (5) …