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The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture The God Virus is currently Sold Out! :(
by Dr. Darrel Ray
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 mega church 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 pedophile priests and wayward ministers and how
it uses survivor guilt to propagate and influence and how it might
influence a person's IQ.
paperback, 2009, 241 pages
Darrel Ray is a lifelong student of religion and society. An organizational psychologist for over 25 years, he has worked with thousands of people and groups including many religious organizations. With a BA in sociology, an MA in Church and Society and an Ed.D. in counseling psychology, he is uniquely positioned to observe and comment on religion's role in the world. He was raised in a fundamentalist denomination until leaving home for graduate school. He has written two other books in the field of organizational psychology and contributed to many journals over the last 30 years.
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