God: A Human History

About the Author

Reza Aslan is an internationally acclaimed writer, commentator, professor, producer and scholar of religions. His books include the international bestsellers Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth and No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam, which was named as one of the hundred most important books of the last decade. Born in Iran, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three sons.

About the Book

Throughout human history we have searched for the meaning of life and for proof of a life after death. Our earliest ancestors conceived of the soul and the possibility of worlds beyond their own: they buried their dead, performed rituals, made sacrifices and worshipped spirits and gods in various forms.

Over time, primitive belief systems gave rise to the religions of the modern world, while our quest to understand the divine has led us to project ourselves on to our gods, endowing them with human traits and emotions. This ‘humanized’ God is a central feature in nearly every religious tradition. Whether we believe or not, the vast majority of us see God as a divine version of ourselves.

But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature – our compassion, our thirst for justice – but all that is bad too: our greed, our bigotry, and our penchant for violence. All of these qualities inform our religions, and influence our cultures and governments.

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, God: A Human History challenges our understanding of the divine and the origins of religious belief. Whether you believe in one God or many gods or no god at all, this book will transform the way you think about religion and its role in human history and your own existence.

Acknowledgments

I owe this book, and pretty much everything else I do, to the undying support of my wife, Jessica Jackley, who is not only the love of my life but also my best friend and partner in life. The book could not have been written without the assistance of my friend and colleague Dr. Ian Werrett, whose meticulous research and late-night debates with me on the nature of the divine were instrumental in creating the finished product. Additional research for the book was done by Safa Sameizade-Yazd and Joseph Lerner. I am, as ever, grateful to my amazing literary agent, Elyse Cheney, as well as my editors, Will Murphy and Hilary Redmon, and my tireless publicist, London King, at Random House.

Also by Reza Aslan

BOOKS

God: A Human History

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization

(originally published as How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror)

No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

EDITED COLLECTIONS

Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East

Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities

(with Aaron J. Hahn Tapper)

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