Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £22.89

Buy Now for £22.89

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

This book uses evolutionary psychology as a lens to explain religious violence and oppression. The author, a clinical psychologist, examines religious scriptures, rituals, and canon law, highlighting the many ways in which our evolutionary legacy has shaped the development of religion and continues to profoundly influence its expression. 

The book focuses on the image of God as the dominant male in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This traditional God concept is seen as a reflection of the “dominant ape” paradigm so evident in the hierarchical social structures of primates, with whom we have a strong genetic connection.

The author describes the main features of male-dominated primate social hierarchies - specifically, the role of the alpha male as the protector of the group; his sexual dominance and use of violence and oppression to attain food, females, and territory; in-group altruism vs. out-group hostility (us vs them); and displays of dominance and submission to establish roles within the social hierarchy. The parallels between these features of primate society and human religious rituals and concepts make it clear that religion, especially its oppressive and violent tendencies, is rooted in the deep evolutionary past.

This incisive analysis goes a long way toward explaining the historic and ongoing violence committed in the name of religion.

©2015 Hector A Garcia (P)2018 Hector A Garcia

What listeners say about Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great work

definitely loved it, one of the milestone books in its category, will listen again
K

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mizzaga
  • mizzaga
  • 26-02-19

Incredible.

I am finally able to understand where my low self esteem is rooted. I can't thank the author enough for unveiling the horrible psychology housed in religious faith. Every woman on earth should read this book and put religion where it belongs...in the past.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for peter
  • peter
  • 17-11-18

Thoughtful

A thoughtful look into alpha-male behavior in the animal kingdom-- humans included-- and how this hierarchical approach to tribal management is reflected in the establishment of religions. Worth reading, or listening to. Beautifully read by Seth Andrews.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-08-19

Most Thoughtful Book I've Read This Year

Garcia's theory about the primate alpha male origins of our religious and social institutions explains a wide range of modern phenomena including racism, elitism, xenophobia, terrorism, even economic exploitation. I love the references to the original sources too. I highly recommend the book to all deep thinkers involved in public social discourse.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joshua
  • Joshua
  • 13-06-19

Extremely Insightful

This book is well-researched and well written. Seth Andrews delivers an amazing performance in his radio quality voice. this is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the roots of religiosity among us human primates.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Erin O'Neal
  • Erin O'Neal
  • 18-05-20

An insightful perspective

I really loved this book. I saw it advertised on a youtube video and decided to look into it and I'm really glad that I read it. I appreciate the way that the author both acknowledges his own perspective and points out when his perspective may be coloring things, but then justifies his position and moves on. I may not come to all of the same conclusions as he did on everything but it really made me think about how people think and act in a context I hadn't considered it before and it may give me a certain perspective and understanding behind behaviors I still find abhorrent. I couldn't understand why people felt hate until I read this and now I think it puts it into perspective. It doesn't make the behaviors behind that view okay but at least I better understand where they're coming from. Hopefully in time a greater understanding of such ideas might put people within the world in a better position to confront destructive and antisocial attitudes with a lens to adjusting the behavior through discourse and knowledge.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bruno
  • Bruno
  • 23-08-21

2 stars

It was a good survey from an evolutionary perspective, but awful way of promoting a political prescription

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tyler
  • Tyler
  • 12-08-21

Must read for all Christians

This book is incredibly insightful and well researched. It is very important to understand fully what you are subscribing to when you choose to follow a religious doctrine.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bryan O.
  • Bryan O.
  • 21-06-21

great book... and read by Seth!!

Notwithstanding the subject, Seth's silky voice makes it better.

Now, content - well-researched, thorough, simple yet deep, and easy to understand. Totally enjoyable. A relatively quick class on evolution, psychology, science, religion, and anthropology all in one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Useful cynic
  • Useful cynic
  • 11-12-20

Excellent

The author said, in a very educated and common sense way, things that I have been thinking in a more unsophisticated fashion for quite some time. I really enjoyed this book and I learned a lot from it. I'm not sure if it made me more sympathetic to human beings being as weird as we are or if it made me mad that we haven't gotten beyond it. I'm still working through my feelings, but it was gratifying to know that this is not just my anecdotal observation. I don't think I attributed it to evolution but the characteristics of human beings that have been discussed were definitely observations I have made as related to religion and social norms.

Seth was an excellent choice to read the book. As I know him and the author of the book for other work, I kept having to adjust to hearing his voice read Hector's book, but it was a good read of the book and I appreciated his manner of reading it. he's got a nice voice and uses it to good effect.

I would be interested in looking at an appendix or notes regarding this book so I will have a look at the paperback to see if those are available..

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tommy
  • Tommy
  • 13-11-20

Is religion man-made? Yes.

This book is incredibly insightful and discusses many ways that God is just a réfection of mans deeper / carnal desires. The evolutionary commentary is particularly interesting. Recommended to anyway questioning why religion has such a stronghold (and negative impact) on society.