In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion - from the dawn of religious belief to the 21st century - with deepest respect and a keen commitment to accuracy.
Writing for those with faith and those without, and especially for young listeners, he encourages curiosity and tolerance, accentuates nuance and mystery and calmly restores a sense of the value of faith.
Ranging far beyond the major world religions of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, Holloway also examines where religious belief comes from, the search for meaning throughout history, today's fascinations with Scientology and creationism, religiously motivated violence, hostilities between religious people and secularists and more.
Holloway proves an empathic yet discerning guide to the enduring significance of faith and its power from ancient times to our own.
©2016 Richard Holloway (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
UK member listening mainly to fantasy or Sci-fi with occasional self improvement or factual books for good measure.
I very much enjoyed listening to this book but was concerned about the way Richard Holloway chose to interpret parts of the Bible. (But then, according to Richard, I would.)
He takes us on a journey through the development of the idea of "God", why this would have been important and how the idea was maintained and changed through time. He addresses the big questions of life such as what happens after we die and why there is evil in the world.
His approach to various holy writings is that the authors of each had some sort of revelation which they believed to come from God and then wrote for there. However their understanding was probably muddled or incomplete, hence the various religions. These revelations may or may not have come from an external source. In any case they could have no knowledge of the future so all apparent prophetic writings must have been written after the event. Thus the biblical book of Daniel must have been written during the second century BCE despite evidence to the contrary.
I have the impression the book was written by someone who used to be a Christian but has now transferred his faith to humanity. A kindly soul nonetheless.
The walk through of the many faiths of the world and their origins was very helpful and, I can only hope, fairly accurate.
Overall I found this a fascinating listen even where I disagreed with the author and would recommend it to anyone seeking such an overview.
I loved this book. An excellent summary of world religion throughout the ages. Also a thought-provoking snapshot into understanding our own human mind! The tone of the book was perfectly pitched as well. A very entertaining listen!
Relocated Welshman, husband, father, grandad & parish priest aspiring to be a better cook; enjoys reading, walking, music, theatre.
Well written and narrated. A panoramic, but a little more than a whistle stop tour of the world's religions. Highly recommended for the enquirer, also a good refresher
easy to finish and great narrator. Brillisnt without an agenda and lots of informations providing a broad history and pleasurable journey through time. Narration fabukous and brought it to life with a sprinkle of humour.
I was attracted to this book when I saw who had written it. I’ve heard Richard Holloway speak and am impressed by his open-minded attitude to religion and humane approach to those that the more bigoted denigrate such as gays, lesbians and transgender people and applaud his criticism of how most religions exclude women from any important role. Views all the more courageous as he was the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Scotland.
I found this book very interesting and learned a lot about the different religions as he explains the tenets of various faiths so clearly. He enumerates the similarities among them and describes how small differences in beliefs have led to so much conflict, persecution and bloodshed throughout history.
I started the book with the opinion that the world would be a better place without religions and leave with that opinion reinforced. I don’t know if it was the intention of the author but for me he provides convincing arguments that religions are created out of the human mind and are an understandable attempt to make sense of the vagaries of life and a world that is difficult to comprehend. That would be fine if this comforts people, but, although most religions start with good intentions, the majority get corrupted over time by the men in power. It’s sad that even in our modern world religion is causing so much suffering and in some cases tries to stifle scientific progress and personal freedom.
The final chapter gives a hint to a shift in the author's own beliefs as he describes non-secular humanism, which certainly seems benign compared with much of the history of religions!
The writing style is well suited to being read as it feels as if the author is speaking to the listener: helped by the narrator’s warm and friendly voice.
This book answered so many questions I had about religion. It answered questions I didn't actually realise I had too.
Brilliantly expressed, brilliantly read and completely engaging.
I've listened to literally hundreds of books on audible and this is one of about 3 that I've reviewed.
5 stars, because I can't give it 10!
beautifully delivered and informative. I walked away feeling that I had skimmed the surface. gives a nice concise insight into the history of the world's major faiths
What a very very good book this is. Richard Holloway is a fair and wise critic of the religions of the world and this book should be a compulsory read for young people and adults alike. Very interesting, much to learn and think about. Beautifully read. I shall look forward to listening to him read his autobiography "Leaving Alexandria". He is an honest, brave voice in the muddled and too often hypocritical world of religion and I am grateful to him for standing by his principles and speaking out.
"Great book, and I'm an atheist."
there was little-to-no apologetics. It really broke down how all the religions came to be.
loved it....understood the origin of religion. ..both author and reader was excellent...i loved it...thanks much
A must for anyone who has ever wondered about the many different religions and why.
I found it a fascinating listen. I was aware of the commonality of many religions ... the ten commandments were practiced, minus the silliness about god and the sabboth, long before Moses struck them in stone.
"Excellent "in a nutshell" book!"
This is a great book for all ages and gives you a well rounded view of religions of the world, views of God and where we started all the thinking from. Great narration, great info, great book.
"Fascinating, Clear, & Refreshingly Succinct"
Loved the succinctness of the material.
This is the most clearly and one of the most beautifully written non-fiction books I have read. The information is succinct and absolutely fascinating. I highly recommend reading this.
"Very informational and timely"
on todays world of rising intolerance and hatred it is worth knowing religions place in it and this book helps put it in perspective.
This is a great way to learn about all religions and understand the conflicts in the world based on various beliefs.
Well done, really good book. Lot of info without being too overwhelming. And it never formed an opinion, just stated history and facts
High level overview of religions and their doctrines? Good prospective on the dogmas that shape mankind's spiritual quest.
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