The God Virus

  • by Darrel Ray
  • Narrated by Darrel Ray
  • 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What makes religion so powerful? How does it weave its way into our political system? Why do people believe and follow obvious religious charlatans? What makes people profess deep faith even as they act in ways that betray that faith? What makes people blind to the irrationalities of their religion yet clearly see those of others? If these questions interest you, this book will give you the tools to understand religion and its power in you, your family and your culture. For thousands of years, religion has woven its way through societies and people as if it were part and parcel to that society or person. In large measure it was left unexplained and unchallenged, it simply existed. Those who attempted to challenge and expose religion were often persecuted, excommunicated, shunned, or even executed. It could be fatal to explain that which the church, priest or imam said was unexplainable. Before the germ, viral and parasite theory of disease, physicians had no tools to understand disease and its propagation. Priests told people disease was a result of sin, Satan, evil spirits, etc. With the discovery of microbial actors, scientists gained new tools to study how it spreads. They could study infection strategies, immunity, epidemiology and much more. Suddenly the terrible diseases of the past were understandable. The plagues of Europe, yellow fever, small pox, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, etc. were now removed from the divine and placed squarely in the natural world. This book owes a great deal to Richard Dawkins concept of viruses of the mind, but it seeks to go a step further to personalize the concept of religion as a virus and show how these revolutionary ideas work in everyday life. The paradigm can explain the fundamentalism of your Uncle Ned, the sexual behavior of a fallen mega church minister, the child rearing practices of a Pentecostal neighbor, why 19 men flew planes into the World Trade Center or what motivates a woman to blow herself up in the crowded markets of Baghdad. Learn how religion influences sexuality for its own purposes, how and why it protects pedofile priests and wayward ministers and how it uses survivor guilt to propagate and influence and how it might influence a person's IQ.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A different approach to the case for atheism

I found this book very engaging and interesting. Rather than focus on the texts of different religions as many books putting the atheist case do, this book looks at the way religion acts on individuals and on societies. The case is well put together and the author humanises it with real life examples. The author narrates the book himself, which can sometimes be problematic. It works in this case though, as you can hear his conviction and thoughtfulness in his narration and he has a narration style that is conversational and easy to listen to. Definitely recommend.
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- Ms. S. Iliffe

Provocative and thought provoking

Provocative for the vectors and the infected... A no compromise dissection of a social virus which unfortunately makes sense.

I think this book will be unbearable to get through for anyone infected so I doubt it will win any converts but it helps explain what is going on to some degree for the rest of us.

And it does hold some advise on how to get along though Dawkins would balk at the notion of ignoring and not challenging the statements from the religious where Mr Ray instead suggest deflecting and not engaging.

You should read this and some of Sam Harris and Dawkins great works and then make up your own mind whether to engage or deflect/ignore. I lean more towards the Harris/Dawkins camp myself, after a lifetime of living an unspoken concord of tolerance which mainly benefits the religious and gives space for growth of religious dogma.
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- Allan Hviid Jensen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-11-2012
  • Publisher: Dogma Debate, LLC