Why We Believe in God(s) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$11.13
Qty:1
  • List Price: $12.95
  • Save: $1.82 (14%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith Paperback – June 1, 2011


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.13
$7.07 $4.99


Frequently Bought Together

Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith + The God Delusion
Price for both: $21.77

Buy the selected items together
  • The God Delusion $10.64

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Pitchstone Publishing (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984493212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984493210
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.5 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book about the evolutionary drivers of religiosity would have delighted [Darwin].... One by one the components of religion receive the Thomson treatment. Every point he makes has the ring of truth, abetted by a crisp style and vivid imagery. Andy Thomson is an outstandingly persuasive lecturer, and it shines through his writing. This short, punchy book will be swiftly read—and long remembered."

—Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, from the foreword of Why We Believe in God(s)



"Andy Thomson, with Clare Aukofer, has written a wonderfully concise introduction to our growing scientific understanding of religion. If you would like to learn, in the span of an hour, why we have every reason to believe that God is man-made—this is the book to read."

—Sam Harris, author of the New York Times best sellers The Moral LandscapeLetter to a Christian Nation, and The End of Faith

About the Author

J. Anderson Thomson Jr., MD, is a staff psychiatrist at the University of Virginia's Student Health Center and Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy. He maintains a private practice of adult and forensic psychiatry and serves as a trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Clare Aukofer is a medical writer and editor. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Richard Dawkins is an ethologist, an evolutionary biologist, and a writer. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was formerly University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science. Among his previous books are The Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion, and The Selfish Gene.

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

A well written, accessible book for the masses.
Book Shark
I've long wondered why intelligent people can have such irrational religious beliefs, and after reading this book I now have a better understanding.
Sharon Fratepietro
This book gives you all the basic on the psychology of religions but as the title suggest, this is a CONCISE introduction to the science of faith.
Julius Caesar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Eller on April 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Thomson's tiny book (114 miniature pages) is a commendable introduction to the emerging science of religion. Those who are unfamiliar with the new convergence of psychology, biology, and anthropology in evolutionary-cognitive theory will find the book useful for getting them started on the subject. (Those already familiar with the much more substantial treatments of Boyer, Atran, Guthrie, Kirkpatrick, de Waal, and others will not learn anything new here.) The book suffers from its very brevity: for instance, in the discussion of human evolution in chapter 2, no dates or descriptions are included with the names of various species. Also, the book commits the standard error of virtually all studies of religion, namely conflating theism--and sometimes specifically CHRISTIAN theism--with religion. For example, on page 32, it says that "All religions...begin with belief in one or more central holy figures or teachers." That is not quite accurate: not all religions even include a notion of "the holy." Later on the page Thompson admits that he will only discuss one religion, but that makes the entire point of the evolutionary theory of religion moot, since Christianity was most assuredly not the first religion to evolve, nor was theism a part of that first religion. On page 46 Thompson says that "Religions give us supernormal 'parents,' magnificent attachment figures...." but the reality is that not all religions imagine their spirit-beings as parents either. That is likewise a very Christian way of thinking. So, this little book is a decent starting place to learn about the latest thinking on the human and social origins of religion, but use it as a jumping-off point into the more detailed and culturally-informed literature that puts theism in its place--late in the religion game, as a branch of a branch of the evolving religion tree.
24 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Paul on April 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book summarizes the scientific research that explains the human inclination to create divinity. It is not a defense of atheism, but rather shows what science has to say about the various modules and capacities that humans have developed over the millenia that lend themselves to the generation and embrace of religious explanations. Although the authors make it clear that they are not people of faith, the book is not an attack on faith so much as an account of why people might believe, other than "because it's true." Very current in terms of the literature, well written, and thus a good portal for someone seeking to learn more about the field.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Fifth Generation Texan on March 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
As Thomson and Aukofer point out in this compelling little book, our snap judgements are "millions of years in the making" and so is the human propensity to construct and to believe in gods. I know of no clearer or more concise summary of the various preadaptations that cause humans to generate and sustain religious belief.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Todd Branch on September 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Evolutionary Mechanism of Belief

What this book is:

This is a great introduction into the idea of religion as the by-product of our evolutionary development. It does not ridicule religion as something that only the foolish follow; it instead gives a reason why so many people naturally fall into the prevailing religions of their areas. It does assume that the people who are reading the book can get over the assumption that evolution is a scientific fact which will really only turn off those who would not get a lot out of the book in the first place.

What this book is not:

This is not any sort of direct confrontation of any of the specific claims of religion or evolution. While it touches on some of the topics, it is not a focus of the book. Don't expect to find irreducible complexity or specified information nonsense being challenged here.

The best part for me:

For me personally this was somewhat of a "missing link" in my understanding of how normally rational people can be convinced of irrational notions. Unlike the books I have read by more mystically oriented people who use a lot of emotional appeals that always left me feeling like I had been sold something, when reading this book the ideas just clicked into place.
While this is not a definitive end to the question, it does give a direction that the answer most likely lies in and some very factual and compelling reasons to go down that road.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Fratepietro on April 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've long wondered why intelligent people can have such irrational religious beliefs, and after reading this book I now have a better understanding. Thomson and Aukofer offer insightful analogies from different fields to explain why it was inevitable that humans would create gods. I was fascinated to see arguments and examples about why "belief" can be more compelling than "truth," and why some people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. This book will give religious believers and atheists alike something new to think about, and they will better understand not only what they believe, but why they believe as they do.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tim K on July 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was hesitant on whether or not I wanted to read this, not because the material is offensive to me, but I thought I wouldn't learn anything. After just finishing it, I am glad I made the investment.

"Why We Believe in God(s)" is a nice summary of all of the research done in recent years on why humans are primed to accept religious notions. If you have any inclination to learn about why people accept belief in god(s) and why religions are so comforting to people, this is a wonderful place to start.

The discussion of neurochemicals and how they effect belief and ritual were very informative, along with the authors explanation of suicidal acts within religions.

It's not a very large book, so it could be read in a day. "Why We Believe In God(s)" isn't a comprehensive guide to explaining faith, but a great introduction to the topic.

Other books that one may find interesting:
The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?