Monday, December 05, 2005

In Gods We Trust

In Gods We Trust by Scott Atran (another review here) deals with the evolutionary landscape of religion. In it, he offers a well researched analysis of how supernatural religion is a natural consequence of our basic natures.

This book is written from a decidedly atheistic point of view. While it certainly isn't written in a pejorative way, it certainly can be a challenge to some types of testimonies. If you came into the book looking for ways to try and distinguish genuine religious experience from societal baggage, it certainly can lead to some interesting, and self defacing insights. As with any book, the more one looks for personal applications, the more one gets out of it.

Overall, I don't think this book will have a wide appeal for mormon audiences. To build something constructive from it requires a unique perspective on religion. The unnecessarily complex writing style in much of the book will further filter the audience. This is unfortunate because the experimental detail backing claims is quite nice to see. Unlike most anthropological or sociological works, assumptions are made minimally. Those with a science bend will feel comfortable with the style of presentation. Those interested in a light read will be disappointed.

During this next month I will be starting a series of posts on this book. While this seems to be a bloggernacle trend of late, I don't think my posts will summarize much of the book. Instead they will focus on interesting ideas that the book brings out in my world view. I would like to take about 1 week a section, meaning this should be a month long event. Along the way I will try and summarize my general reactions. So far it has been intriguing. It is just too bad I can only take it in short doses before getting bogged down with tangential ideas and issues.

1 comment:

jeff g said...

Clark and I were planning on reading the book together here in a little bit. Maybe I'll just start now so that I can comment on your treatment of it.