Regular price: $20.24

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion - from the dawn of religious belief to the 21st century - with deepest respect and a keen commitment to accuracy.

Writing for those with faith and those without, and especially for young listeners, he encourages curiosity and tolerance, accentuates nuance and mystery and calmly restores a sense of the value of faith.

Ranging far beyond the major world religions of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, Holloway also examines where religious belief comes from, the search for meaning throughout history, today's fascinations with Scientology and creationism, religiously motivated violence, hostilities between religious people and secularists and more.

Holloway proves an empathic yet discerning guide to the enduring significance of faith and its power from ancient times to our own.

©2016 Richard Holloway (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    91
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    85
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book, and I'm an atheist.

there was little-to-no apologetics. It really broke down how all the religions came to be.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

excellent

loved it....understood the origin of religion. ..both author and reader was excellent...i loved it...thanks much

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

essential study

A must for anyone who has ever wondered about the many different religions and why.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Worth rewinding

I found it a fascinating listen. I was aware of the commonality of many religions ... the ten commandments were practiced, minus the silliness about god and the sabboth, long before Moses struck them in stone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent "in a nutshell" book!

This is a great book for all ages and gives you a well rounded view of religions of the world, views of God and where we started all the thinking from. Great narration, great info, great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book

I enjoyed this book a lot, excellent, concise presentation from a neutral point of view. A must read!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Well crafted !!

This book is a carefully curated collection of historic facts, religious stories and connecting comments with few reflective observations.
It tries to keep objective views, though at times you can read opinions between lines.
I truly enjoyed this book!!!
Highly recommended !!!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good summary of religion

As the title suggests, this book is a short history of religion, but it has just enough information to cover the basis of most religions. It doesn't get very deep into specific events or details, but I feel like i can have a more insightful conversation with people of all religions. Good for beginners with no understanding of other religions.

More people should read this book to understand the similarities between everyone's beliefs.

The narrator is a little hard to understand with his accent and sounds like he whispers occasionally, but wasnt too bad once I got uses to it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Vey informative, educational and entertaining.

The author never seems to take sides or push the reader just gives the facts. A great book which I will listen to again.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fascinating, Clear, & Refreshingly Succinct

What does James Bryce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent narrator.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Loved the succinctness of the material.

Any additional comments?

This is the most clearly and one of the most beautifully written non-fiction books I have read. The information is succinct and absolutely fascinating. I highly recommend reading this.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mr. Paul M. Quirk
  • 01-05-17

Fascinating book

I very much enjoyed listening to this book but was concerned about the way Richard Holloway chose to interpret parts of the Bible. (But then, according to Richard, I would.)

He takes us on a journey through the development of the idea of "God", why this would have been important and how the idea was maintained and changed through time. He addresses the big questions of life such as what happens after we die and why there is evil in the world.

His approach to various holy writings is that the authors of each had some sort of revelation which they believed to come from God and then wrote for there. However their understanding was probably muddled or incomplete, hence the various religions. These revelations may or may not have come from an external source. In any case they could have no knowledge of the future so all apparent prophetic writings must have been written after the event. Thus the biblical book of Daniel must have been written during the second century BCE despite evidence to the contrary.

I have the impression the book was written by someone who used to be a Christian but has now transferred his faith to humanity. A kindly soul nonetheless.

The walk through of the many faiths of the world and their origins was very helpful and, I can only hope, fairly accurate.

Overall I found this a fascinating listen even where I disagreed with the author and would recommend it to anyone seeking such an overview.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Grace
  • 01-01-17

Really enjoyable!

I loved this book. An excellent summary of world religion throughout the ages. Also a thought-provoking snapshot into understanding our own human mind! The tone of the book was perfectly pitched as well. A very entertaining listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • caroline
  • 12-25-16

Informative and entertaining wry humour

easy to finish and great narrator. Brillisnt without an agenda and lots of informations providing a broad history and pleasurable journey through time. Narration fabukous and brought it to life with a sprinkle of humour.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • MS F
  • 01-02-17

Really enjoyable

This is a warm, and accessing romp through the different religions which can be enjoyed be people of all ages and faiths.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • David J. Carpenter
  • 09-12-16

Highly Recommended.

Well written and narrated. A panoramic, but a little more than a whistle stop tour of the world's religions. Highly recommended for the enquirer, also a good refresher

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kirstine
  • 01-11-17

Unbiased, educational and interesting

I was attracted to this book when I saw who had written it. I’ve heard Richard Holloway speak and am impressed by his open-minded attitude to religion and humane approach to those that the more bigoted denigrate such as gays, lesbians and transgender people and applaud his criticism of how most religions exclude women from any important role. Views all the more courageous as he was the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Scotland.

I found this book very interesting and learned a lot about the different religions as he explains the tenets of various faiths so clearly. He enumerates the similarities among them and describes how small differences in beliefs have led to so much conflict, persecution and bloodshed throughout history.

I started the book with the opinion that the world would be a better place without religions and leave with that opinion reinforced. I don’t know if it was the intention of the author but for me he provides convincing arguments that religions are created out of the human mind and are an understandable attempt to make sense of the vagaries of life and a world that is difficult to comprehend. That would be fine if this comforts people, but, although most religions start with good intentions, the majority get corrupted over time by the men in power. It’s sad that even in our modern world religion is causing so much suffering and in some cases tries to stifle scientific progress and personal freedom.

The final chapter gives a hint to a shift in the author's own beliefs as he describes non-secular humanism, which certainly seems benign compared with much of the history of religions!

The writing style is well suited to being read as it feels as if the author is speaking to the listener: helped by the narrator’s warm and friendly voice.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-24-17

Not Sure What Religion You Are? Read This!

A must read for everyone. If I was an 'unsure atheist' before reading this book, then I certainly am one now!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anthony
  • 01-22-17

Philosophical and informative

Excellent short book contemplating the nature and purpose of religion in human societies.

The book covers the history of major world religions but also offers, en passant, interesting insights into how and why particular religions operate in particular ways, how fear and other powerful forces were co-opted as the means to recruit or retain followers, and the role and purpose of religious leaders. Packed usefully with historical insights and interesting anecdotes it is surprisingly engaging and informative.

Nicely read and philosophical in its approach encouraging listeners to keep questioning their own beliefs and their origins and bases.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sue Rourke
  • 01-10-17

Absolutely awesome

This book answered so many questions I had about religion. It answered questions I didn't actually realise I had too.
Brilliantly expressed, brilliantly read and completely engaging.
I've listened to literally hundreds of books on audible and this is one of about 3 that I've reviewed.
5 stars, because I can't give it 10!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • J. Smith
  • 01-09-17

cracking little book.

beautifully delivered and informative. I walked away feeling that I had skimmed the surface. gives a nice concise insight into the history of the world's major faiths

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Cat
  • 10-09-17

A book for atheists

I would not recommend this book if you are wanting a real understanding of different religions. The author is obviously not religious and views the different religions as fairy tales.