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the simulation theory

  These agents are different fromnormal human agents because they have full access to people’s thoughts and desires.4 Ara Norenzayan makes similar arguments.5 Tanya Luhrmann suggests that formingreligious beliefs depends on a porous theory of mind by means of which religious people believe that God interacts with them by implanting thoughts.6All these theories hold that gods, or other supernatural beings, are believed to be minded or have mental states. However, all also hold that religious cognition isto some extent different from ordinary social cognition. According to Guthrie’s andBarrett’s theories, supernatural minds are believed to be invisible. In both Boyer’sand Luhrmann’s theories, divine minds are believed to be more powerful than humanminds. Therefore all theories seem to agree that religious cognition is a particularsubclass of religious cognition, but the difference with ordinary cognition appearsto be stronger in Boyer’s and Luhrmann’s theories. For Guthrie, Barrett and Bering,gods are invisible, but there is no real difference between human minds and the mindsgods are believed to have. In Guthrie’s and Barrett’s theories, supernatural mindshave the same agential powers as human minds, and in Bering’s theory both humanand supernatural minds engage in intentional meaningful acts. According to Boyer,supernatural minds are clearly different since they have full access to people’s mentalstates whereas human minds do not, while Luhrmann’s argument suggests that su- pernatural minds have the ability to intrude on other minds but human minds do not.If religious cognition can be considered a subclass of social cognition, religiouscognition is in many ways similar to social cognition. Theories of religious cogni-tion could thus benefit from insights into social cognition. This is, however, largelymissing in most theories of religion. In order to fill this lacuna, we will look at threeinfluential approaches to social cognition in recent philosophy of mind