This provocative book explains the origins and persistence of religious ideas on the basis of common structures and functions of human thought. The first general introduction to the new "cognitive science of religion," Minds and Gods presents the major themes, theories, and thinkers involved in this revolutionary new approach to human religiosity. Arguing that we cannot understand what we think until we first understand how we think, the book pursues the evolutionary forces that molded the modern human mind and continue to shape our ideas and actions today. Todd Tremlin details many of the adapted features of the brain - illustrating their operation with examples of everyday human behavior - and shows how mental endowments inherited from our ancestral past lead people to naturally entertain religious ideas. Tremlin provides a clear and comprehensive account of the developing field of the cognitive science of religion. This accessible and engaging volume is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the religious mind.