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Publisher's Summary

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
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Customer Reviews

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By Derek on 08-30-16

Great book, and I'm an atheist.

there was little-to-no apologetics. It really broke down how all the religions came to be.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

By Andre on 10-11-16


loved it....understood the origin of religion. ..both author and reader was excellent...i loved it...thanks much

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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By Mr. Paul M. Quirk on 01-05-17

Fascinating book

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.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

By Grace on 01-01-17

Really enjoyable!

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!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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By Cat on 10-09-17

A book for atheists

I would not recommend this book if you are wanting a real understanding of different religions. The author is obviously not religious and views the different religions as fairy tales.

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