What first prompted prehistoric man, sheltering in the shadows of deep caves, to call upon the realm of the spirits?And why has belief thrived ever since, leading us to invent heaven and hell, sin and redemption, and above all, gods?Religion reflects our deepest hopes and fears; whether you are a believer or, like Matthew Kneale, a non-believer who admires mankind's capacity to create and to imagine, it has shaped our world. And as our dreams and nightmares have changed over the millennia, so have our beliefs - from shamans to Aztec priests, from Buddhists to Christians: the gods we created have evolved with us. Belief is humanity's most epic invention. It has always been our closest companion and greatest consolation. To understand it is to better understand ourselves.
©2013 Matthew Kneale (P)2013 Random House AudioGo
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This is an excellent, well-researched book on the history of belief and the evolution and popularity of religion. I enjoyed every last word of it and can't wait to read other titles by the same author.
If you're an atheist, you'll probably enjoy it; if you're religious, well, read it anyway. It's very interesting.
The narrator was very easy to listen to, too.
"What a tangled web"
Who would have thought that through various cock ups, propaganda and necessity you would arrive at religions that still dominate our world to this day? Hear this book tells the story of how the word of god came about through man. Very well narrated and well put together although with so many different historical figures coming at you so fast you do need to pay attention.
"Elementary. Writer is obviously not an 'Atheist'"
Deplorable. Yr. 1 university thesis. Relying on colourful anecdotes from other books to 'entertain'. Patronising. Displaying very little understanding of the 'religious'. Does not grasp 'figure of speech', and wilfully ignores middle-east crisis.. painfully obvious propaganda. Did not convince on his theme 'religion offers escape', nor mention that it may have been impetus for cooperation and survival. Nor that his education and most of our modern technological advances are results of that 'religion' he so denounces. Written for 10 year olds, with a lot of Enthusiasm and no regard to Consequences.
"Excellent introduction to belief systems"
Yes, its very well read, and very interesting. Its particularly good if you are not an academic.
"A "must" listen to book for everyone"
This is just the type of information I have been looking for. A clear and easy to understand explanation of how the worlds beliefs came about.
A bit heavily Christian based it seemed to give a fair overview of many beliefs across time.
I fear some people may be unwilling to listen to it because of the word atheist in the title... A word that congers up some sort of uneasy evil... Maybe an unbiased history would have made it palatable to more people?
Everyone would benefit from listening. If you desire to believe in your chosen faith this will not dissuade you.
The readers voice was perfect. Thank you.
Excellent book with well researched chapters on the origins of religion, and particularly interesting chapters on the origins of Judaism and Christianity.
Small gripe though:
Author claims Islamic intolerance was a response to Christian Crusades of 1099, apparently unaware that crusades were a response to Islamic invasion of France in 732, the invasion that was stopped by Charles Martel in the battle of Tours, the grandfather of Charlemagne.
The Battle of Tours followed 21 years of Islamic conquests in Europe which had begun with the invasion of the Visigothic Christian Kingdoms of the Iberian peninsula in 711. These were followed by Islamic military expeditions into the Frankish territories of Gaul, former provinces of the Roman Empire.
Other than that the book is quite interesting.
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