In Understanding Religion through Artificial Intelligence, Justin E. Lane looks at the reasons why humans feel they are part of a religious group, despite often being removed from other group members by vast distances or multiple generations. To achieve this, Lane offers a new perspective that integrates religious studies with psychology, anthropology, and data science, as well as with research at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
After providing a critical analysis of approaches to religion and social cohesion, Lane proposes a new model for religious studies, which he calls the "Information Identity System." This model focuses on the idea of conceptual ties: links between an individual's self-concept and the ancient beliefs of their religious group. Lane explores this idea through real-world examples, ranging from the rise in global Pentecostalism, to religious extremism and self-radicalization, to the effect of 9/11 on sermons. Lane uses this lens to show how we can understand religion and culture today, and how we can better contextualize the changes we see in the social world around us.