God by Reza Aslan


From the bestselling author of Zealot and host of the new CNN series Believer comes a fascinating account of humanity’s struggle to make sense of the divine, and how the idea of god, from its prehistoric origins to its emergence as a single divine personality, continues to offer new ways of connecting people of different faiths today.

Details God

Release DateNov 7th, 2017
PublisherRandom House
GenreReligion, Nonfiction, History, Philosophy, Theology

Reviews God

  • Fiona
    In July, I read a book called Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods: Early Humans and the Origins of Religion by E. Fuller Torrey. It presents the evolutionary theory of the creation of gods by examining the cognitive development of man and I found it truly fascinating.In this short work, Reza Aslan similarly explores the creation of gods by man. It's not a scientific approach and I found little if nothing new in the first two thirds of the book. I appr...
  • Anton
    5 ⭐ stuff. Many thanks to NetGalley, publisher and author for sharing the ARC. Honestly, my experience with ARCs so far was very disappointing. Also, I haven't encountered Reza Aslan before. So my expectations were pretty low to start with.But then I started reading... and was blown away. This is such a strong book. It is succinct, very balanced, logical and delightful to follow. The author is a fantastic storyteller! This is a non-fiction stor...
  • Rebecca Foster
    Although comparable in scope to Karen Armstrong’s A History of God, this is more of an anthropological and sociological approach to how religion arose. We created God in our image, Aslan argues. Using ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ as representatives of primitive humans, he explores what seems to have been intuitive: the idea that the soul survives after death; the notion of a three-tiered universe (heaven, Earth, and an underworld); and animism, or ...
  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews)
    This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advanced copy! All opinions here are my own and are not influenced by them.Admittedly, I do love Reza Aslan, though. I’ve read two of his books and one of them completely changed my viewpoint on things. My religious studies professors sometimes talk about him to bring up various issues since he’s a well-known guy who studies religions and talks ...
  • Mehrsa
    This book is well written and fascinating. As an Iranian, I especially love that he includes the vital history of God and religion that began in Iran. The content however is very similar to Robert Wright’s Evolution is God and Karen Armstrong’s history of God. But I suppose the outcome is different. Reza ends up in Sufism and Wright in secular Buddhism and Armstrong in Christian mysticism. But as Azlan seems to say, it’s the same thing. The...
  • Krista
    I am, in my essential reality, God made manifest. We all are. So then, worship God not through fear and trembling but through awe and wonder at the workings of the universe – for the universe is God. Pray to God not to ask for things but to become one with God. Recognize that the knowledge of good and evil that the God of Genesis so feared humans might attain begins with the knowledge that good and evil are not metaphysical things but moral cho...
  • Roger DeBlanck
    Each of Reza Aslan’s previous books made a lasting impact on me, and with God: A Human History he has once again delivered a narrative study that leaves an empowering impression. It is at once a book that relies on impeccable scholarship and yet reads with the lyricism and emotion of great literature. With page-turning intensity, Aslan takes us on a journey through history by showing how we have made sense of God and the divine by giving them h...
  • Marilynn Spiegel
    The author begins with an illogical premise and spirals downward from there. His original premise ignores the three basic Laws of Thought: the law of identity, the law of excluded middle and the law of non-contradiction. Aslan is an ethical relativist who has never examined his own thoughts. I believe in some circles he would be considered thoughtful, but for a philosophical, historical, believer in God I felt the book was a waste of my time.He d...
  • Kristy K
    "What is God? That question has been st the center of the human quest to make sense of the divine from the very beginning."This was a lot shorter than I expected, the actual content taking up only about 50% of the book. However, the rest of the book is the authors bibliography, notes, and research which I appreciated. When reading non-fiction it's nice to be able to see where the author is getting his source material and the amount of research he...
  • Annikky
    Aslan reminds me a lot of Harari - both are intelligent, extremely accessible and bold and love to paint with a very broad brush. They also cover some similar ground, although Aslan is more narrowly focused on religious themes. For some reason, I also find him less irritating than Harari - even though both could be accused of the same sins of shallowness, oversimplification and jumping into conclusions. When it comes to the spiritual beliefs of t...
  • Cindy Leighton
    Fascinating and thought provoking, Aslan attempts to trace the development of the concept of a soul throughout human existence, and also of a deity/deities with human attributes and virtues - one who is actively involved in human life. Almost half the book is footnotes and bibliography - I suppose his answer to critics of his book Zealot.I am not a biblical scholar, but what I know of anthropology he represents well, and adds much to my knowledge...
  • Nicole
    Reza Aslan is both a brilliant scholar and a skillful storyteller. 'God: A Human History' is fascinating, educational and accessible. It is as much an explanation of the way in which we have given God human qualities as it is a history of the rise of monotheism, two stories which are intricately intertwined. It also very closely mirrors the path of Aslan's own spiritual journey.While I don't necessarily agree with all of Aslan's spiritual beliefs...
  • Dan Graser
    I suppose if you have never considered the case that humans have fashioned the, "divine," in their own image for thousands of years then there may be something interesting here.I suppose if you know nothing of early monotheisms that predate the one you may subscribe to then there may be something interesting for you here.If you think our natural inclinations to suppose agency where there is none and assumptions that there is something eternal abo...
  • Dan
    For 90+% of this book, I was fascinated. It's an engaging history of the development of humankind's relationship to the divine, from prehistoric (i.e, neanderthal) times up to, roughly, the development and spread of the most recent major western religion, Islam. It ties in psychology and politics and sociology and trade, and makes logical connections between the development of all of them, in tandem.Where the book falls short for me comes in a tr...
  • Jeff
    God is made in man's image, not the other way around, and Aslan documents this truth from ancient cultures around the world, also showing how and why humans moved from a pantheon of gods to a single God. His book is scholarly/heavily footnoted, but also quite engaging -- and short!Fascinating read (if you're into this kind of stuff).
  • Daniel
    I enjoyed this book that details the evolution of religion. What Aslan describes is how throughout history civilizations consistently defined god/gods in their own image, often attributing human traits to those they worship. This led to rituals such as animal sacrifices to fed the gods, or the building of temples to provide shelter to the gods. The description on how the concept of the afterlife changed from a continuation of life on earth to a p...
  • Mark Loughridge
    Several pages into this book I started to wonder if it was satire. An author whose name is Aslan (the Christ-figure in the Narnia books) writes without any apparent sense of irony, having ignored what the opening chapters of Genesis says about man being made in God's image, "if we are going to trace the religious impulse to its genesis..."!To write an investigation of God, and how and why we understand him in humanistic terms, without engaging in...
  • Joe Kucharski
    Biblical, and using that term generically, texts aside, author-scholar Reza Aslan charts the history – and the concept – of God, providing a fascinating follow-up to Zealot, where he de-constructed and then re-constructed a historical look at Jesus the Messiah. Here, Aslan does not solely present the Jewish/Christian/Muslim God, but theorizes how the idea of “god” is so prevalent with human history; a concept that either most people, devo...
  • Socraticgadfly
    Better than much previousThat said, while better than most, it's not perfect.I — even if a majority of Torah scholars disagree — think Yahweh comes from the MIdianiate "HWY," which is "to storm, blow or thunder," rather than the Hebrew "HYH," "to be." It derives easier, and gives us a Midianite version of Zeus brought into Canaan by the tribe of Judah, which probably did have a separate migration from what became known as the "northern" tribe...
  • Julie
    This was a fascinating read. Aslan is excellent at explaining very complicated philosophical and theological ideas. He leads us on a journey through the origins and development of religion to what current faiths represent (and how they got there); and miraculously this very long journey never gets dull. The breadth of research this work represents is staggering; and the latest anthropological theories put my old education in the trash. This felt ...
  • Abby Rosmarin
    Full disclosure: Reza Aslan's spiritual journey very much mimics my own (minus the foray into Sufism), and I, too, ended up becoming very pantheistic in my belief systems, so a lot of God was an echo of things I already believed, with historical evidence and backstory. That being said, I was fully enraptured in the evolution of belief systems and how they mirrored the world around it. This is a great book for someone looking to get an introductio...
  • Arie Prasetyo
    This book starts with how our psyche introduced us to the concept of soul. From there it takes us through animism, polytheism, and finally monotheism. This book is an interesting journey through our understanding of God. And the conclusion is no less controversial than it is mind-blowing.
  • JDReads
    I enjoyed reading the historical information related to religion and it growth and development throughout history, but I was still left wondering where to go from here.... Soul? God? God is all? All is God? Which God is God if there is only one God? I am God because God is all? In the end, it is a matter of faith and what you believe in, but that does not mean someone else is wrong. Religion is open to continued interpretation and study.
  • Hari Tulsidas
    I should compliment Reza Aslan for a very lively narrative of human god obsession from Palaeolithic times to present. Crunching in historical and philosophical aspects of developing the concept of god is challenging task. However, in this book, we have a page turner, full of wit, yet acute treatment of complex concepts. The book starts the historical treatment of god from upper Palaeolithic cave paintings produced by pre-historic people over 40,0...
  • Antonio Gallo
    Un ennesimo libro dedicato alla ricerca, allo studio ed alla conoscenza di quella entità alla quale tutto appartiene e nella quale tutti dovremmo ritrovarci, per comprendere chi siamo, da dove veniamo e dove siamo destinati ad andare. L’autore cerca di gettare nuova luce in maniera del tutto moderna, ed anche provocatoria, sulla relazione che intercorre tra l’umano ed il divino, sfidando le tradizionali prospettive con le quali, nell’arco ...
  • Barbara Cerda
    ImpressionsA monotheism experiment – the climax of the fairly recent belief in a single, singular, nonhuman, and indivisible creator God as defined by postexilic Judaism, as renounced by Zoroastrian Dualism and Christian Trinitarianism, and as revived in the Sufi interpretation of tawhid; God is not the creator of everything that exists. God is everything that exists. ~ God A Human StoryNothing prepared me for this uplifting treatise on the int...
  • Hazel
    I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.Where did religion come from? This is the question Reza Aslan, a scholar of religions, attempts to answer in his latest publication, God: A Human History. To date, Aslan has tackled subjects such as the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and the origins, evolution and future of Islam. In this book, the author journeys back to the earliest evidence of human existence and, using a mix of resources...
  • Victoria Sadler
    I had high hopes for this book. Buoyed by the success of writers like Yuval Noah Harari and Naomi Klein, I had my fingers crossed that this would be an accessible, fascinating piece of non-fiction that would not preach (excuse the pun) but instead engage and, ina colloquial style, convey complex ideas in straightforward language.And for the vast bulk of this book, that is exactly what happens.Reza, a God scholar whose works have already appeared ...
  • James (JD) Dittes
    God: A Human History is a history of humans as much as it is of any god or gods. It is a short book full of insight, that people of all faiths--and levels of study--will appreciate.Aslan begins by looking at evolutionary theory, and at several explanations for the human origins of god--going back to some of the most ancient human artifacts. It was not animals so much that fascinated these pre-historic hunters, but the spirits of the animals that ...
  • Mitchell Finnesgard
    The book was surprisingly short (half the book in notes and bibliography). I was disappointed when I opened it up and realized that the book was 171 pages and not the expected 290+ pages.The book was good for the most part with how it related the development of the concept of gods with evolution of the socioeconomic of the time period. It describes Paleolithic beliefs of animism and how religion/god possibly developed. Aslan then goes through the...