Saturday, September 06, 2008

If you need a book that tries to explain religion and doesn't succeed ...

Speaking of books not to be bothered with, Amazon has just sent me a flyer flogging a “minimally revised” update of Matthew Alper’s 1996 “cult classic” “manifesto against belief in God,” The “God” Part of the Brain.

When Mario and I were writing The Spiritual Brain, we decided to begin - in Chapter 2 - by getting out of the way a couple of books that were out there and were talked about - but simply lacked substance. Alper's is one of them.

Sadly, it's being marketed alongside Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained. While we disagree that Boyer has succeeded in explaining religion, or could do so, given his premises, his work is worthy of consideration (as we said). So if you want to read a book that tries to explain religion and doesn't succeed, read Boyer, not Alper.

Note: In The Spiritual Brain, we don't try to "explain" religion or spirituality in terms of something else. Spirituality, like curiosity, is a nature and normal part of human beings that doesn't require explaining except in its own terms.

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