Evolution of God, The Hardcover – Jun 8 2009
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PRAISE FOR The Evolution of God:
"In his brilliant new book, The Evolution of God, Robert Wright tells the story of how God grew up. He starts with the deities of hunter-gatherer tribes, moves to those of chiefdoms and nations, then on to the polytheism of the early Israelites and the monotheism that followed, and then to the New Testament and the Koran, before finishing off with the modern multinational Gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Wright's tone is reasoned and careful throughout...and it is nice to read about issues like the morality of Christ and the meaning of jihad without getting the feeling that you are being shouted out...Provocative and controversial."―Paul Bloom, New York Times Book Review
"On any list of nonfiction authors that many people may not know but should, Robert Wright would rank high. . . . taken together, The Moral Animal, Nonzero, and The Evolution of God represent a powerful addition to modern thought. If biology, culture and faith all seek a better world, maybe there is hope."―Gregg Easterbrook, Wall Street Journal
"While the diatribes of the "new atheists"-Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and company-have made headlines in recent years, Wright takes a decidedly more friendly approach to human religiousness...Wright's approach will appeal to a broad range of readers turned off by the "either/or" choice between dogmatic atheism and religious traditionalism. Recommended for all readers engaged in consideration of our notions of God."―Library Journal
"The Evolution of God offers the sort of hope even unbelievers can believe in: that we can somehow learn to talk about religion."―Stephen Prothero, The Washington Post
"Can religions in the modern world reconcile themselves to one another, and can they reconcile themselves to science?" Robert Wright-journalist, philosophy professor, and author of the acclaimed books Nonzero, and The Moral Animal-ardently believes the answer is yes. In this meaty account, the result of 10 years of scholarly research, he attempts to do so, drawing on evolutionary psychology, archaeology, and game theory to trace a common pattern in the world's monotheistic faiths. It's a thoroughly materialist account of religion and yet is ultimately allied with one of religion's basic goals: to provide guidance and comfort in a chaotic world."―Seed Magazine
"[The Evolution of God] gives me hope...The tone of the book is dry skepticism with a dash of humour; the content is supple, dense and layered...fresh and necessary."
―Andrew Sullivan, The Times
PRAISE FOR NONZERO:
"An original, accessible and thought-provoking view of history...full of rich detail, ingenious insight and bold argument."―The Economist
About the Author
Robert Wright is the author of Nonzero, The Moral Animal, and Three Scientists and Their Gods. He is a contributing editor to the New Republic, Time, and Slate, and he runs www.BloggingHeads.com, a rapidly growing Web site for intellectual discourse. He has also taught in the Philosophy Department of Princeton University and the Psychology Department at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in New Jersey.
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Top Customer Reviews
Although he remains true to his agnostic stance Wright is able to conclude that in spite of religion's origination dynamics, there may actually be something that is 'divine' in mankind afterall. He sees that the moralistic base of most cultures, throughout time, have improved. And while history shows a repeated series of upward and downward spirals morally and spiritually, he feels that overall the moral base of the world is improving. The one critical element that this process needs is for each of the Abrahamic religions to give up their feeling of 'being special in god's eyes' and admit that they are all chasing after the same god. This is something that will not happen anytime soon.
I highly recommend this book for those persons who are researching the existence or non-existence of God and how this impacts not only the individual but society as well.
Throughout the main portion of the book, Wright's main theme is that the kind of god people imagine depends on the way they view their neighbors. When people feel isolated, and that everyone is out to get them, they imagine a god who is intolerant of outsiders (non-believers). When people see their neighbors as friendly, and potential allies or trading partners, they imagine a god who is more tolerant and inclusive. Moreover, the scriptures of all three Abrahamic faiths contain portions that were written when the authors were feeling threatened, and other portions that were written when they were feeling friendly.
So, today, people can find support in the scripture for declaring jihad (or crusade) on the infidel, or for loving thy neighbor. That fact has obvious implications for the world today. If we in the West make Muslims feel that we hate them, they will hate us and radical interpretations Islam of flourish. While that is an important point, with important implications, it is also rather obvious.
The last portion of the book was, in my view, the weakest. Wright expressly states that he is agnostic; he is not sure whether God exists.Read more ›
The end argument of this book is its downfall. The author apparently is "agnostic" but then he make the cliched argument that god must exist because there is morality.
This "god must exist because we are moral" argument is getting tiresome. Why does nearly every religious book that is trying to defend religion have to use the moral argument?
This is how the argument in the book works:
1.We are moral
2.There must be a god
There are countless books on the history of religion and there are now many books that examine why we are moral without bringing god into the equation. Read one of those books and forget this one.
This isn't a one star book, I would give it 2 stars, but I am giving it one star because it's rating is currently way too high.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is well written and thoroughly researched, with the needs of the reader constantly considered. Read morePublished on March 21 2013 by Ley Milton Davison
This is a fascinating book about god's "entry" onto planet earth. At first there was no god, then there were a lot of gods and now we are at a "mono" god. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2011 by ottoseegers
Religious writer and modern theologian Robert Wright has recently come out in defense of monotheism in his tongue-in-cheek study of God and modern culture. Read morePublished on July 31 2010 by Ian Gordon Malcomson