Review #1:

This is an extremely impressive book, one which should enlighten any open-minded reader, theist and non-theist alike. Harrison transports the reader from the ancient battle at Marathon across two millennia, following the march of civilization to the present day. He shows in a clear and engaging manner the moral corruption that is inherent in the ancient texts that continue to serve as the scriptural foundations of modern religions. His compelling mixture of philosophy, theology, astronomy, psychology and physics, presented always in a very accessible and entertaining style, persuasively demonstrates how science illuminates and promotes understanding while religion ossifies thinking patterns and all too often produces intergroup conflict. I highly recommend this book to all.

— James E. Alcock: Professor of Psychology, Author, and Skeptic

 Review #2:

Hilarious and powerful. Equal to anything written by Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, and Dennett, the Four Horsemen of the Anti-Apocalypse.

— Bill Walker, Freethinker

Review #3:                                              

Clear, concise and cogent, this beautifully written book examines what is arguably the greatest scam to have ever been perpetrated on humankind. Religions of all shades evolved from fears and superstitions and yet, in various ways, promise salvation and eternal life to adherents. With no basis in reality, these imaginary rewards are available only to those who blindly believe.  

Well researched and richly illustrated, this book is a delight to read, for both its rich historical information as well as its moral and spiritual implications. As the author states: It has been a long night’s journey into light.

— Larry Keeley, Teacher

Review #4: 

Other than putting cash on the collection plate on Sundays ...
Purchasing this book was the best $25 I have ever spent.

— Brian Paris, Teacher 

Review #5:

 I really enjoyed reading and thinking about your new book, Allah, Jesus, and Yahweh.  As the “Arab Spring” in Egypt is rapidly turning into something more like the “Winter of their Despair” your subject is especially topical.  Your book adds many significant and thoughtful insights into the religious source for current political and social conflicts around the world.  It is thoughtful, well researched and clearly expressed.  You would certainly have no problem holding up your end of the conversation in a gathering of the “new atheists.”

For me it brought back fond memories of our many discussions at Kenner.  In your teaching (as well as your Humanist Club), you always encouraged your students to think for themselves and to develop a healthy skepticism of those who would attempt to prevent them from doing so.  Although I recall that we came at the issue of myth and religion from different perspectives (You as a math teacher and I as an English teacher), I also remember being in total agreement with you about the importance of encouraging students to be critical thinkers.

 There are so many things that I admire about your book that I can’t begin to put them all in this email, but here are just a few.   I love the way you use the mythological figures of Epios and Phemos to emphasize the importance of approaching the issue of beliefs from both a scientific and artistic perspective.  I couldn’t agree more.  The way in which you use the myths about the two of figures as book-ends, creates a very satisfying framework to your book.  In between you present your readers with a wealth of fascinating historical, cultural, scientific, and literary information.  Well done!

It is also very well written.  I was especially impressed by the way you use your writer’s voice to engage your readers.  For most of the book you use an ironic (often humorous) tone that works very well to keep a potentially heavy subject, light and approachable.  I noticed that from time to time there is another, much more angry, voice that comes through in your writing (e.g. p.243 ff. and p.294 ff.).  Your judicious and sparing use of that voice makes it all the more effective.  Your prose style really takes flight in these passages- great use of rhetorical flourishes!

Something else that worked really well for me was your use of personal anecdotes to illustrate some of your arguments (e.g. preface, p.115. p.252. p.288, p.301).  The one that really stood out for me was your story about Mother Courage p.252 ff. You re-create your experience with the bear and her cubs very vividly for your readers.  I found it not only very germane to your point about the presence of morality in nature, but also very moving.   It would work very well as a stand-alone article.

Finally, a concluding thought concerning your skepticism about various evolutionary arguments that have been presented to account for religion (p.336).  I’ve been reading some of these arguments in books by authors such as Michael Gazzaniga, Steven Pinker, David Brooks, Robert Trivers, Sam Harris, and Jonathan Haidt.  I particularly enjoyed Haidt’s recent book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.  He’s the psychologist who wrote a much quoted article with the great title of ‘The Emotional Dog that Wags the Rational Tail.”   If you haven’t read anything by Haidt yet, I think you would find him a kindred spirit.

A lot of what Haidt and other evolutionary psychologists scientists are saying about the 'adaptive' benefits of religion make sense to me.  Of course, they don’t use their research to justify the abhorrent effects of mistaking myth for fact that you, so rightly, caution us against in your book, but what they do offer are sensible, evolutionary explanations for the universal presence of religion/mythology in human societies. 

If religions/mythologies are products of the human imagination and not divine revelation (and I certainly agree with you on that), then it makes sense to me that these stories would reflect the full range of our imaginations.  Humans certainly don’t need gods or devils to account for the evil in the world.  We are quite capable, as news reports confirm daily, of 'all manner of evil.'  But, as your story about Mother Courage so aptly illustrates, humans, as well as the rest of the natural world, are also capable of 'all manner of good.'   It all 'goes to hell', as you argue so effectively, when we mistake a metaphor for a fact and twist those 'fictions'  into a dogma that one group tries to impose onto another.

This book deserves a wide readership.

— Dirk Verhulst, English Teacher





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