Wednesday, June 24, 2015

If Religion is the Virus, Freethought is the Vaccine

The God Virus: How religion infects our lives and cultureThe God Virus: How religion infects our lives and culture by Darrel W. Ray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The God Virus: How religion infects our lives and culture (Kindle + Aubible Editions) uses the virus as a metaphor for what religion does to individuals and cultures. The metaphor isn't perfect, but it is frighteningly appropriate. Of course, many aspects of culture act like a virus infecting the mind and strongly influencing individual and group behavior. However, given that religion gets a pass on criticism in American culture, I think that a treatment of this particular "virus" is most important. Darrel Ray isn't saying anything here that hasn't been said before, but he does a remarkable job of coherently putting together all the ideas that have been expressed in other works. I particularly appreciate that he is a psychologist with a strong respect for the integrity of the scientific method - a quality that I find sorely lacking in the writings of many other psychologists that I've encountered. As I am fascinated by what people believe and why they believe it, I found this book both informative and thought provoking. Though still mysterious, this book has made religious indoctrination less so for me. I plan to read the sequel in which Darrel Ray tackles how religion uses sex to entrench it's grip on the hearts and mind of believers.
I used Amazon's feature that lets you listen to a book being read as you read it for the first time with this book. It's a good experience, but I will say that having Darrel Ray read the book was probably not the best choice for Audible.

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