Book: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

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Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Viking Books

An innovative thinker tackles the controversial question of why we believe in God and how religion shapes our lives and our future.

For a growing number of people, there is nothing more important than religion. It is an integral part of their marriage, child rearing, and community. In this daring new book, distinguished philosopher Daniel C. Dennett takes a hard look at this phenomenon and asks why. Where does our devotion to God come from and what purpose does it serve? Is religion a blind evolutionary compulsion or a rational choice? In Breaking the Spell, Dennett argues that the time has come to shed the light of science on the fundamental questions of faith.

In a spirited narrative that ranges widely through history, philosophy, and psychology, Dennett explores how organized religion evolved from folk beliefs and why it is such a potent force today. Deftly and lucidly, he contends that the “belief in belief” has fogged any attempt to rationally consider the existence of God and the relationship between divinity and human need.

Breaking the Spell is not an antireligious screed but rather an eyeopening exploration of the role that belief plays in our lives, our interactions, and our country. With the gulf between rationalists and adherents of “intelligent design” widening daily, Dennett has written a timely and provocative book that will be read and passionately debated by believers and nonbelievers alike.


Barnes and Noble

Faith-based initiatives; evolution vs. intelligent design; the right to life vs. the right to choose; gay marriage; international terrorism: Even if you’re not a believer, you can ignore religion only at your own risk. In this provocative book, philosopher Daniel C. Dennett asserts that religion is a cultural phenomenon shaped and governed by the processes of evolution and natural selection; succinctly stated, we are hard-wired to believe. At a time of ever-widening schism between rationalists and believers, Breaking the Spell offers an analysis that acknowledges the power of faith without relinquishing the claims of reason.

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