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The Evolution of God

Cover of The Evolution of God

The Evolution of God

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In this sweeping narrative, which 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 archeology, 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 to future harmony.

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

In this sweeping narrative, which 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 archeology, 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 to future harmony.

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

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  • AudioFile Magazine Using evolutionary psychology, Robert Wright explores how the morality of societies changed as those societies became more complex and how monotheism is an outgrowth of personal morality. The material is deep and detailed, so it is essential that the narrator keep the book from becoming mind-numbing in audio form. Arthur Morey does a solid job. For instance, he breaks up long sentences into logical chunks, with appropriate pauses. He also varies his tone slightly to give emphasis to unusual or especially important points. His pronunciation is impressive, especially when he vocalizes sounds from African languages for which there sometimes are no English equivalents. But the book requires concentration on the part of the listener, especially in the early part, where the author describes early societies and their belief systems in intense detail. R.C.G. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 28, 2009
    Wright's brief reveals why religious and scientific beliefs do not have to be mutually exclusive. While his history of monotheistic religions is accessible, if not illuminating, his game theory approach to God and religious coexistence and harmony is dense and difficult to process aurally. Arthur Morey delivers a flat and monotonous reading. While he does inflect, his projection lacks the emphasis and energy to sustain listeners through all 19 hours of this production. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, May 11).

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 11, 2009
    In his illuminating book, The Moral Animal
    , Wright introduced evolutionary psychology and examined the ways that the morality of individuals might be hard-wired by nature rather than influenced by culture. With this book, he expands upon that work, turning now to explore how religion came to define larger and larger groups of people as part of the circle of moral consideration. Using a naïve and antiquated approach to the sociology and anthropology of religion, Wright expends far too great an effort covering well-trod territory concerning the development of religions from “primitive” hunter-gatherer stages to monotheism. He finds in this evolution of religion, however, that the great monotheistic (he calls them “Abrahamic,” a term not favored by many religion scholars) religions—Christianity, Islam, Judaism—all contain a code for the salvation of the world. Using game theory, he encourages individuals in these three faiths to embrace a non–zero-sum relationship to other religions, seeing their fortunes as positively correlated and interdependent and then acting with tolerance toward other religions. Regrettably, Wright's lively writing unveils little that is genuinely new or insightful about religion.

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The Evolution of God
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