The Evolution of God

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Little, Brown, Jun 8, 2009 - Religion - 576 pages
3 Reviews
In this sweeping narrative that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright's findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. He explains why spirituality has a role today, and why science, contrary to conventional wisdom, affirms the validity of the religious quest. And this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism, but future harmony.

Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward.
 

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This is a wealth of information that really looks at religion as a growing & changing theology. It really cleared up for me a lot of things about the major monotheistic religions and why they are so inconsistent and oddly similar and yet believe themselves to be so different. It explains the evolution through politics and economics which really makes sense. I learned more information than I could possibly ever retain.
Downfalls of this book? For one it's at least a third longer than it needs to be. Wright seems to have a tendency to repeat himself an exhausting number of times. If he would have cut that back it would have really shortened this book. Also he goes into a lot of theories that he seems to be coming up with on his own. Some are interesting at best, but I wasn't impressed by most of them and rather wished he would stick to the facts instead of trying to philosophies about what God is and whether he really existed. He states in the beginning of the book that this isn't what his book is about, yet still takes the time to talk about it for some reason.
This is an amazingly interesting topic so I do recommend reading it for that reason. However I understand that Karen Armstrong has a similar book on the same topic.
 

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I picked up this book because I was a huge fan of NonZero, which was one of the best books I have ever read. This book builds on that as it examines how humanity's concept of God has changed as our circle of concern has grown.
While the bulk of this book focuses on the Abrahamic religions, I found the discussion of pre-Abrahamic religion the most interesting. I find myself agreeing with the general idea that religion can have a relevant place in the future, but only for those religions that surrender the notion that they can maintain a privileged position as the sole source of truth.
 

Contents

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The Shaman
Religion in the Age of Chiefdoms
Gods of the Ancient States
THE EMERGENCE OF ABRAHAMIC MONOTHEISM
From Polytheism to Monolatry
From Monolatry to Monotheism
Philo Story
THE TRIUMPH OF ISLAM
Mecca
Medina
Jihad
Muhammad
GOD GOES GLOBAL OR DOESNT
Well Arent We Special?
By the Way What Is God?

Logos The Divine Algorithm
THE INVENTION OF CHRISTIANITY
The Apostle of Love
Survival of the Fittest Christianity
How Jesus Became Savior
How Human Nature Gave Birth to Religion
A Note on Translations
Bibliography
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