Fostering mutual understanding by viewing religion from an outsider perspective
Depending on how one defines religion, there are at least thousands of religions in the world. Given such religious diversity, how can any one religion claim to know the truth? Nothing proposed so far has helped us settle which of these religions, if any, are true - until now.
Author John W. Loftus, a former minister turned atheist, argues we would all be better off if we viewed any religion - including our own - from the informed skepticism of an outsider, a nonbeliever. For this reason, he has devised "the outsider test for faith". He describes it as a variation on the Golden Rule: "Do unto your own faith what you do to other faiths." Essentially, this means applying the same skepticism to our own beliefs as we do to the beliefs of other faiths. Loftus notes that research from psychology, anthropology, sociology, and neuroscience goes a long way toward explaining why the human race has produced so many belief systems, why religion is culturally dependent, and how religion evolved in the first place. It's important that people understand these findings to escape the dangerous delusion that any one religion represents the only truth.
At a time when the vast diversity of human belief systems is accessible to all, the outsider test for faith offers a rational means for fostering mutual understanding.
©2013 John W. Loftus (P)2015 Pitchstone Publishing
This is another terrific book form Loftus that is seriously undermined by a truly uninspired performance. It's feels like O'Neil's goal is to read the text as fast as humanly possible. Over and over again while listening I just wanted to scream, "slow down!" There is no personality, no warm, and no sense of connection to the material. It does not for one second feel like he's trying to convince me of the value of the test being presented. It sounds like he's being forced to read a text he doesn't care about. He might as well be reading the phone book. There a ton of big ideas in this book. It presents a challenging method of thinking that is foreign to many people. It features a deluge of information and references to external data. These heady concepts need a narrator who knows how to pace the content in a way that makes it easy for the listener to absorb. O'Neil goes so fast, and with an unchanging pace that gives no weight to any one sentence more than another, that it's very easy to just tune out. The world desperately needs more books like this that plainly lay out the the importance of reason, logic, empiricism, and evidence-based thinking. Sadly it is read like it was an unwanted school assignment by a bored narrator who wanted to be anywhere else. A book like this deserved so much better.
He often read way too fast. And, when reading a quote, it was often hard to tell when the words being spoken had shifted from the quote back to the original text of the book.
The content is excellent, easy to follow and as a argument against religious faith is probably the best one I've read. But the narration seems rushed.
I have never had to use the speed option, but here I had to listed to the whole book at 0.75x because the narration is just too quick and the narrator makes a number of errors as well that were not re-recorded. Hence the conclusion that the production was rushed.
Still a good read as the content makes up for the not so good narration.
This is an interesting book that will drive the Christian apologists crazy. But the narrator sometimes is too much in a hurry and doesn't phrase the words properly.
"Let down by the narrator's pace/ delivery"
I find the case for the test persuasive and compelling. Sadly, as with so many such books, there is a tedious amount of repetition. I also found some of the secondary arguments to be a little weak. Overall though the narration really let this down.
No, though I'll probably buy and read his own books.
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