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Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression
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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.
What members say
By Akhter Omer Hassan on 2019-10-28
Absolutely loved it!
If you are religious and want to keep your religion do not read this book. For me personally this book was the final nail in the coffin as to whether I should continue being religious. Once you listen to this book you can't go back.
By mizzaga on 2019-02-26
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.
8 people found this helpful
By peter on 2018-11-17
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
By Amazon Customer on 2019-08-04
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
By Joshua on 2019-06-13
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
By Anonymous User on 2020-02-06
Lots of info. may require multiple listens.
Like drinking from a fire hose, lots of info to take in. I liked it.
By Mike A Klotz on 2019-10-31
Nice take on the human condition
Interesting angle on religiosity and how it has affected our societies. I spend a lot of time studying human behaviors from an evolutionary perspective. This certainly added some thought provoking material. The reader was a little difficult to listen to because he sounded like he was narrating a PBS documentary, not horrible but a bit annoying for me.
By Steven L on 2019-09-25
great book. I think I need to read it again there
I think I will need to read the book again, there was so much information.
By S. Summers on 2019-08-23
A very clear-eyed look
A very clear-eyed view of how our religious practice and belief are likely shaped by our evolutionary psychology
By Steve Heitz on 2019-04-30
must read (or listen)!
I get it!
book is easy to understand and seth did a great job reading it. lots of great information.
By Jay James on 2019-02-06
The only reason we keep kicking this dead horse.
because our country allows billionaires to influence legislation and have the kids their tax liability for tax responsibilities. these representatives that we shuffle every 2 to 6 years are empower advising billionaires with their campaign contributions to bring up devices and wedge issues to buy for Kate the electric and to keep the common man in its place free from any Liberty or freedom