The God Virus

  • by Darrel Ray
  • Narrated by Darrel Ray
  • 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What makes religion so powerful? How does it weave its way into our political system? Why do people believe and follow obvious religious charlatans? What makes people profess deep faith even as they act in ways that betray that faith? What makes people blind to the irrationalities of their religion yet clearly see those of others? If these questions interest you, this book will give you the tools to understand religion and its power in you, your family and your culture.
For thousands of years, religion has woven its way through societies and people as if it were part and parcel to that society or person. In large measure it was left unexplained and unchallenged, it simply existed. Those who attempted to challenge and expose religion were often persecuted, excommunicated, shunned, or even executed. It could be fatal to explain that which the church, priest, or imam said was unexplainable. Before the germ, viral, and parasite theory of disease, physicians had no tools to understand disease and its propagation. Priests told people disease was a result of sin, Satan, evil spirits, etc.
With the discovery of microbial actors, scientists gained new tools to study how it spreads. They could study infection strategies, immunity, epidemiology and much more. Suddenly the terrible diseases of the past were understandable. The plagues of Europe, yellow fever, small pox, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, etc. were now removed from the divine and placed squarely in the natural world.
This book owes a great deal to Richard Dawkins' concept of viruses of the mind, but it seeks to go a step further to personalize the concept of religion as a virus and show how these revolutionary ideas work in everyday life. The paradigm can explain the fundamentalism of your Uncle Ned, the sexual behavior of a fallen megachurch minister, the child rearing practices of a Pentecostal neighbor, why 19 men flew planes into the World Trade Center, or what motivates a woman to blow herself up in the crowded markets of Baghdad. Learn how religion influences sexuality for its own purposes, how and why it protects pedofile priests and wayward ministers and how it uses survivor guilt to propagate and influence and how it might influence a person's IQ.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A non-theist handbook

The book acts as an immunization against those who are infected with the religious virus. The author is never in your face and is mostly about giving the non-theist a way to think and understand the thinking behind the theist believers. I found this book a much better listen than Sam Harris' book, "The End of Faith". They cover similar material, but I found better arguments (through the metaphor of the virus) in this book.

The author even has a section on how to talk with religious people if you must (okay, the author doesn't say 'must', that's not his style at all). For example, if a believer says he'll be praying about you, just reply and say 'thanks, I'll be thinking about you". A non-confrontational approach which doesn't compromise your belief system is always preferable to pointless arguments.

The author reads his own book. He does a good job. He's not a great reader, but by having the author read his own book, I the listener get a better interpretation of the book.
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- Gary

A Viral Metaphor with Evidence

Would you consider the audio edition of The God Virus to be better than the print version?

I love the inflection from the author's voice. You can really tell where the important points that he wants to get across. Darrel does a great job.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The God Virus?

I enjoyed the giving of actual virus names and then showing how multiple religions act in that manner. I was able to learn about both at the same time. That was an unexpected benefit. I also enjoyed the characteristics of how religious people act, like the exorcist. I'll let you the listener find this one. It was so spot on!

What does Darrel Ray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He really brings the different sections to life. It made me back up and hear certain parts more than once, because I loved the way it sounded.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I wish I could have, but I had to do it in 3 sittings.

Any additional comments?

It was wonderfully produced and clear sounding. It even had nice soft music between chapters that was not annoying or too long like many other books. Great job here.

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- Donovan Baker

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-16-2012
  • Publisher: Dogma Debate, LLC