How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science

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Macmillan, Nov 1, 2000 - Science - 302 pages
3 Reviews
At the beginning of the twentieth century, social scientists predicted that belief in God would decrease by the end of the century because of the secularization of society, but nothing could be further from the truth. Recent polls show that 96% of Americans believe in God. Despite Nietzche's claim that God is dead, He has never been more alive for millions of believers who stand steadfast in their convictions. Why is this? Why are people turning to religion in greater numbers than ever before? Why do people believe in God at all?

In How We Believe, Michael Shermer presents the results of an exhaustive empirical study in which he asked 10,000 Americans how and why they believe and about details of their faith. How We Believe offers fresh and startling insights into age-old questions and examines:

• What it means to believe in God
• "Proofs" of God and what they tell us about religious faith
• The relationship between science and religion
• How humans, as the storytelling animal, came to become Homo religious
• How to find the sacred in the age of science

This edition includes a new introduction by the author that brings readers up to date on recent studies on prayer and healing, on the changing religious attitudes and beliefs of Americans, and on the controversial debate about the relationship of science and religion that continues to grab headlines. Shermer also addresses his critics, both believers and atheists, on why belief or disbelief in God is not a question of evidence but of faith. Yet having been a believer and studied the history of science, Shermer is open-minded and inclusive throughout the book. He is most interested in knowing how and why, not in showing right or wrong.

Thought provoking, comprehensive, and well researched, How We Believe is certain to spark lively debate among believers and nonbelievers alike.
  

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User Review  - Daniel.Estes - LibraryThing

In How We Believe, author and leading skeptic Michael Shermer comes at the question of why people of all cultures in all times tend to believe in a god by addressing the anthropology of how they got ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amaraduende - LibraryThing

This was very interesting. I read Gould's book about the "nonoverlapping magisteria" so that part of Shermer's thesis was familiar. (The idea is faith and science have nothing to do with one another ... Read full review

Contents

PART II RELIGION AND SCIENCE
125
Afterword to the Second Edition
239
Appendix I What Does It Mean to Study Religion Scientifically? Or How Social Scientists Do Science
263
Appendix II Why People Believe in GodThe Data and Statistics
267
A Bibliographic Essay on Theism Atheism and Why People Believe in God
280
Notes
285
Credits
312
Index
315
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Michael Shermer, publisher ofSkepticmagazine and the director of the Skeptics Society, has appeared on numerous nationally syndicated talk shows including Oprah, 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, Politically Incorrect, and Leeza. One of the leading experts on weird and extraordinary claims, religion, spiritualism, and the millennium, Shermer has been interviewed for documentaries for A & E, Discovery, and the Learning Channel.. An adjunct professor at Occidental College, Shermer also hosts Science Talk, a radio program on NPR affiliate KPCC and is co-host of Fox Family TV's "Exploring the Unknown." He is the author ofWhy People Believe Weird Things. Shermer lives in Altadena, California.

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