God by Reza Aslan


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God.  In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.  In layered ...

Details God

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

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...
  • Clif Hostetler
    This book provides a human history with particular focus on the human tendency to imagine divine agency as a part of life. As far back as evidence of human life exists, there is evidence of a spiritual aspect in their art, charms, monuments and burials. This includes relatives of modern humans including the Neanderthals. The book even claims that some artifacts associated with Homo erectus bones may be evidence of spiritual beliefs. First the boo...
  • Rebecca
    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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Kat Kennedy
    Aslan’s scriptural knowledge of a handful of religions is really interesting. The lesson on the early Jewish religions was fascinating. But this is a very area specific book in which Eastern religions barely get name checked. Very interesting if you want to know about Christianity, Judaism, Islam and their origins. But on a more global scale it is almost useless. The beginning of this book assumes a lot about the thoughts and experiences of Pal...
  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
    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 ...
  • Roger DeBlanck
    Each of Reza Aslan’s previous books made a lasting impression on me. God: A Human History is no different. It is an empowering study that relies on impeccable scholarship and yet reads with the lyricism and emotion of great literature. All the while, Aslan maintains a page-turning narrative that shows how we have made sense of God throughout history by assigning human attributes to our divine beliefs. Aslan starts with the first humans of “Ad...
  • Kent Winward
    Not bad for looking at theories on how humanity creates its gods. I was interested to note that as Aslan comes out as a pantheist at the end and his extreme pantheism isn't all that different from atheism -- one is everything, every moment, every object, every particle is God vs. nothing, never, no object, no particle is God is practically the same as a logical end point -- everything is all still one color.
  • 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...
  • Heather
    Read this once and then immediately read it again. Aslan is such a thoughtful, gifted scholar, and I appreciate that he makes scholarly writing so accessible. That said, this book isn’t quite what I expected. It is primarily a history of how monotheism and the humanization of God came to be. What Aslan does focus on is compelling, but I was disappointed in the uneven treatment of world religions. I would have liked more discussion of Hinduism (...
  • 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...
  • Kathleen
    Aslan makes a study of why and how humans tend to anthropomorphize the divine. While most developed faiths have a theology of God being an abstract concept, humans refer to God in human terms. In other words, Aslan asserts that God did not create humans in his/her image, rather humans created their Gods in their own images. This proclivity appears to be nearly universal across the globe. The earliest evidence of religion is found in cave painting...
  • 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...
  • Haroon
    "All is One, and One is all. It is simply up to the individual to decide what "the One" is: how it should be defined, and how it should be experienced." - Reza Aslan. The author takes us on a journey through history and the evolution of 'God' as Lennon put it 'God is a concept' coming to the mystical conclusion seeped and soaked in the Sufism of Bin Arabi, Shamz Tabrizi and Rumi the essence of which is that to know God...know thine self...for God...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Tariq Ibrahim
    ليس هذا كتابا لإقناع الملحدين بوجود الخالق ولا يسوق الحجج على ذلك، بل يرمي مؤلفه البروفيسور رضا أصلان، الأمريكي الإيراني الذي تنصر ثم عاد فأسلم ثم تصوف، إلى استقراء تعامل المجتمعات البشرية مع فكرة الإله عبر التاريخ، بداية من مجتمعات الصيد البدائ...
  • 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...
  • Ksenia
    I enjoyed this quick read and had some interesting conversations about it with friends. I think I'd rate it 3.5 stars. The good:The research in this book is very current and consistent with other sources I've encountered. Aslan is respectful and fair to all of the groups he discusses, in my opinion.It is a fast, easy read.There are sufficient references and large section (a third of the book) with expanded notes for further reading.The content is...
  • Gilda Felt
    An extremely interesting, easily-read, and throughs-provoking book, Aslan takes us through the history of, not religion, per se, but the history of why there’s religion, and how man has created god, over and over again, in his own image.Adam and Eve are two people who come “out of Africa,” their story neatly fitting into man’s true beginnings, and, perhaps, when men first contemplated the idea of a soul. From there it’s on to the many c...
  • Melike
    This book fell short for me especially in the last third of the book. In the first part of the book Aslan writes about the evolution of God and how humans created God in their own image since the beginning of our history. There was a lot to think about in that part of the book for me and I learned quite a bit, but once I got into the chapters on the big 3 monotheistic religions, it wasn't as interesting for me. It felt like he rushed through it.....
  • 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).
  • Molly
    I really enjoyed this. I think it's fair to say that the reader is best served approaching this as a memoir of one man's personal arc of spiritual discovery as played out against the backdrop of the history of religious expression and thought. It's not a straightforward history (nor is it presented as such) - but Aslan does include wonderful notes. It's rush towards pantheism is a fun ride.
  • Phil
    Perhaps 'Zealot' set the bar too high for me. While I enjoyed Zealot as a comprehensive, fully-realized vision of Aslan’s interpretation of Jesus, I find 'God' to come up short. Aslan casts too wide of a net, trying to explore the meaning of the world’s great religions in 171 pages. The result is that the treatment seems cursory and perfunctory, better suited as a brief history. The additional 70+ pages of 'notes' fills some gaps. But I found...
  • 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...
  • Nisha D
    Overall this was an interesting book on the evolution of the concept of God. I enjoyed it more than his other books.
  • Nichole
    I have always found religion fascinating and have studied religions for a long time. I found this book really interesting. Why does essentially every religion humanize god? I concluded that it is because humans are naturally selfish and think they are the center of everything, and also because it is difficult for humans to understand something that isn’t concrete and is abstract. I think I’ve always thought this but couldn’t express it unti...