The Invention of Religion
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The Invention of Religion

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  334 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In this book, the author explores the question of whether religions were invented by humans or given to us by some other means. It is a scientific look at how ancient humans made sense of the world and the phenomena they encountered around them.

In the past, arguments against the existence of gods have mainly come in the form of scientific inquiries that attempt to show the...more
Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published January 2012 by The Emperor Has No Clothes Press
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Yuki
The Invention of Religion is an investigation into the evolutionary origins of religion.

Drake takes us through what almost seems like a mathematical proof (although less confounding) of how religions would have formed in early humans. He uses a “Man on an Island” as an abstract representative for early man—like an unknown in a math equation—and then explores certain psychological phenomena to see how early man would have reacted to certain pressures. The book really goes in depth into the psycho...more
Briana
One thing that I really liked about The Invention of Religion was its focus on psychology, since that is really the only way we can "know" early man. Each chapter explores new psychological phenomena to see how early man would have reacted to certain pressures and I felt that I could really see the world through their eyes.

Even with its emphasis on psychology, this book delves into other interesting topics like the origins of morality, experiments with prayer, free will, etc.

And I really thought...more
KT
I really enjoyed The Invention of Religion, because it was very logically written. It is basically an exploration of how religions come to be. It's a really interesting exploration of ancient human psychology.

I felt like this was a much more enjoyable read than other books on the same topic because the author wasn't belligerent. The most interesting thing (for me, at least) was that it read almost like a mathematical proof (although less confounding). While reading this book, I could tell that D...more
Rlotz
From what I can tell, Alexander Drake is an independent researcher publishing his work himself. A Google search reveals no professors, scholars, or even journalists by that name. So I find it interesting that his books have become popular. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. In any case, that means this book did not have to go through any peer review process. So I will step in!

In some ways, The Invention of Religion is like a modernized (and much shorter) version of James Frazer’s The Gold...more
Timothy Finucane

A fairly short concise read regarding evidence that religion is nothing more than a human invention. It does a fairly decent job of laying out the evidence, and though some of the evidence has been around for some time, the author puts it together in one place with this book. I found this book to be a good place to start exploring the concept that religion is make believe and should promise to be a good source for further exploration (see the cited works section). I found the section on NDEs and

...more
Abhishek Singh
WHATTA a book this is! if you are not prejudiced or have open minded approach to ideas, you will love this book. goes into the deep insights of how, why religion was formed. why do we need it today and in fact do we really need it now?
Book
The Invention of Religion by Alexander Drake

“The Invention of Religion" is a brief, well-referenced, well-argumented book that provides the most likely psychological mechanisms that led to the invention of religion. As the author notes, “In the absence of knowledge, humans will invent a religion”. This is the perfect introductory-level book for the layperson. The author does a wonderful job of laying down the foundation of his theories and building sound arguments to a satisfying conclusion. Thi...more
David Brown
Drake’s fascinating book explores the origins not of particular religions but religion as a whole. He breaks religion down into various components and explores how these aspects of a faith could have logically begun. Tapping into psychological experiments as a basis for some of the theories, Drake also draws on the hypothetical Man on an Island to support the arguments being put forward. This is not a book saying that religion is wrong, but it does try to convey how religions are built by those...more
JM
I have read many books on atheism, so I didn't really expect to learn anything new when I picked up a copy of The Invention of Religion, but I was pleasantly surprised. Drake proposes many new ideas that I don't think anyone has written about before and seems to make a very good case that religions are just inventions of mankind. It is also a well-organized book and I highly recommended it for anyone who wants more ammo for debates.
Lynda
This book addresses many of the things that I have been thinking about lately. I would recommend it.
Freddy
Excellent! Really gets down to the nuts and bolts of why religions exist.
Fred
This is a great book on the origin and natural evolution of religion in humanity. It's a little bit of Child Psychology, Abnormal Psych, Anthropology, Biology, Evolution, Anatomy and Physiology, and other subjects that I'm sure that I am missing. There is a fantastic bibliography in the back of the book that I am sure I will look through again at some point for reading material. (Probably in a few years when I reread this review.)

Thankfully it sticks to science and research and stays away from...more
Danielle
This is the first book that I’ve come across attempting to explain the origins of religion using science by showing why ancient humans might have invented a religion. The argument draws on many fascinating experiments to explain how certain aspects of religion arise. Most of the experiments I had never come across before, so they are even interesting to read about on their own.

The argument is easy to follow since it is broken down into certain “key aspects” of religion, which are then each expl...more
Jim
I had been looking forward to reading this for a long while and I finally got the time this weekend. And I was happy that it was interesting enough to read entirely in one day. I can’t always do that with non-fiction books. The explanations of the “psychological phenomena” are interesting in their own right, but even more so when tied into the whole premise. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book. It really encourages you to reconsider things you might have taken for granted.
Mike
This is probably the best atheist book I’ve read.

I’ve read a few by Dawkins, but when you read his books you can just tell that he’s a jerk, so you almost don’t want to agree with him even though you do. Drake is a much more objective writer/thinker.


Majid
A marvelous writing with inputs and examples apt for different frames of belief. The example of Man on an Island is a beautiful take and things hypothesized based on this proposition are very wittily put. This is a piece of writing I would like to train myself in writing. The article is a beautiful attack on an age old institution which is built in mortal man’s psyche. This empire of institutionalized plunder of logical thinking is challenged by the simple title of the book. The book has dealt w...more
Maureen
A short 'textbook' style read (but not in a boring way). Each chapter is divided up into different reasons proving that all religions are nothing more than a human invention and the reasons why people do that.
Wilson
This highly accessible book is filled with those 'fancy thats' that go over good at parties and it answers all the things you'd want to know about the origins of religions. A fascinating book!
John Scott
There's nothing astonishing or ground breaking in this book and it's as dull as dirt. It is not a good book by any measure.
Brandon
This book is brilliant. A real eye-opener. I think I'm gonna read it again.
Jerry Smith
It has long seemed to me to be a central question whenever we discuss religion and their central beliefs: were we created in the image of whichever god we worship, OR was that god actually a deity that was formed by us, in our image? Drake takes a look at this question in psychological terms as a thesis for how most religions formed.

It is a simple approach that is neat in its simplicity. He does a good job of explaining how we might form beliefs and ascribe seemingly random and unconnected event...more
Mark Abrams
I found this relatively short book (126 pages) to be an excellent explanation of the psychological reasons why the concept of religion was created. It was not a harsh condemnation of religious belief, but was simply an explanation of why early man found religion to be the easiest way to explain the phenomenon he saw. The book was very interesting and logical, but was, by no means, a quick and easy read; I found this book required some careful reading and time to digest the material. This is not...more
Alyssa
A very engaging read! The author introduces key psychological concepts to the readers in the context of explaining the origin of religion. His approach of the subject matter is unique, well-balanced and non-condescending, which are qualities that seem elusive among books of a similar genre.
Razan Ghuraibi
When I first saw this, I thought there would be some indirect attack on religion with a touch of science, judging by the title.

But it turned out to be nothing like that.
Now, what I really liked about this book is the fact that it took religion as a whole and discussed its origins and evolution in a purely logical way.
Andres Burgos
Simply put.
I think. Therefore I am no religious.
Debica
This is a logical book on how religion would have been invented. I find this book extremely practical and thorough. However, it felt very scientific as I feel the psychological part is missing. Not disagreeing with any of the facts provided, in fact I felt it was extremely well researched, especially part two onwards speaking of the evolution of religion. But I didn't find the balance as the psychological part was not well elaborated. Still this is the best I've read on religion so far.
Ed Bowker
Quick and neat but nothing was provided that couldn't have been deduced by taking an intro to psychology course.
Danny
This was such an interesting read, even though it quotes many experiments and the evidence from those experimetns, many clever conclusions were drawn from this and they all align with what I've always thought. A fresh read.
Gavin Long
Real insight into the most likely (and dare I say the most obvious)psychological triggers, mechanisms, reasoning behind the invention of the nonsense that is religion. Second Drake book I have read and just as interesting.
Meredith
Logically written, removing emotion and bias, this book was well-grounded and interesting.
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