A Human History

Book - 2017
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity's quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God.

In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.

In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, "Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we're believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves."

But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature--our compassion, our thirst for justice--but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments.

More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

Praise for God

"Timely, riveting, enlightening and necessary." -- HuffPost

"Tantalizing . . . Driven by [Reza] Aslan's grace and curiosity, God . . . helps us pan out from our troubled times, while asking us to consider a more expansive view of the divine in contemporary life." --The Seattle Times

"A fascinating exploration of the interaction of our humanity and God." -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"[Aslan's] slim, yet ambitious book [is] the story of how humans have created God with a capital G, and it's thoroughly mind-blowing." --Los Angeles Review of Books

"Aslan is a born storyteller, and there is much to enjoy in this intelligent survey." -- San Francisco Chronicle
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780553394726
Characteristics: xvi, 298 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm.


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Sep 20, 2018

Excellent book with facts and timelines to give readers a larger perspective of the role of religion in our lives. In the end, the author chose to justify his belief in something that is ultimately his choice. Still an overall good read.

OPL_DavidD Sep 19, 2018

Thoroughly researched and accessible, God: A Human History is a thoughtful exploration of development of the idea of The Divine throughout our past. Through this book, it can be seen what ideas about God say about the people who develop them, as well as what our ideas say about ourselves. A thoughtful book that links the academic with the personal.

VaughanPLDavidB Aug 11, 2018

On the surface this book seems like a straightforward rational history of how the idea of God evolved in the conscious human mind as a way to explain existence and the nature of the universe. Look deeper and you'll see that the author is leading the reader to what he believes is the ultimate view of the nature of God and the universe: pantheism. This philosophy, as explained in this book, strikes me as a desperate attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable. It was a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise excellent book.

Jul 29, 2018

This is a well researched history of religion that I enjoyed reading. There was opinion mixed in--especially in the conclusion, which has a distinctly different tone and feel that separates it from the rest of the book. I don't find other people's religious views offensive, however, so it didn't bother me too much. I would compare this book to "A Brief History of Time" except it's religious history instead of wormholes. If you feel like you would be offended by a strongly-presented scholarly opinion that differs from your own, just skip reading the conclusion.

Jun 25, 2018

I had a hard time getting started on the book, but when it got to the religions of the Middle East it got better. Some people will be furious about the book.

Dec 03, 2017

no, it's non-fiction.

Nov 27, 2017

This is Fiction, right?

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