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Book Club

  • Sep 3, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

For our September meeting, we plan to read and discuss Robert Wright's The Evolution of God.

In The Evolution of God, Robert Wright takes us on a sweeping journey through history, unveiling a discovery of crucial importance to the present moment: there is a pattern in the evolution of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and a “hidden code” in their scriptures. Reading these scriptures in light of the circumstances surrounding their creation, Wright reveals the forces that have repeatedly moved the Abrahamic faiths away from belligerence and intolerance to a higher moral plane. And he shows how these forces could today let these faiths reassert their deep proclivity toward harmony and reconciliation. What’s more, his analysis raises the prospect of a second kind of reconciliation: the reconciliation of science and religion.

Using the prisms of archaeology, theology, history, and evolutionary psychology, Wright repeatedly overturns conventional wisdom:

  • Contrary to the belief that Moses brought monotheism to the Middle East, ancient Israel was in fact polytheistic until after the Babylonian exile.
  • Jesus didn’t really say, “Love your enemies,” or extol the good Samaritan. These misquotes were inserted in scripture decades after the crucifixion.
  • Muhammad was neither a militant religious zealot nor a benign spiritual leader but a cool political pragmatist, at one point flirting with polytheism in an attempt to build his coalition.

Wright shows that, however mistaken our traditional ideas about God or gods, their evolution points to a transcendent prospect: that the religious quest is valid, and that a modern, scientific worldview leaves room for something that can meaningfully be called divine.

Vast in ambition and brilliant in execution, The Evolution of Godwill forever alter our understanding of God and where He came from—and where He and we are going next.


The BC Humanist book club will be held on the first Tuesday of every month at a members home.

Please suggest books for upcoming months and invite anyone who may be interested.

Most books are available at the Vancouver Public Library or local book stores or through the BC Humanist Association.

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  • Jesse

    I was hoping I could make it to the club tonight (even though I haven't read the book) but I will be going to a human rights protest on behalf of BCHA instead. I'd love to hear how it goes though, and please let me know what the next book is so I can join in next time!

    September 3, 2013

    • Dr. Marty S.

      We met again at Goldi and Kirsten's home and discussed Robert Wright's book on The Evolution of God. We had 9 people present, moderated by Marty. Key issues that received attention was whether Dr. Wright was too optimistic about religions contributions and his hypothesis that god has become more moral across the centuries eventhough it is the result of social and mundane dynamics. Dr. Wright believes there is hope in this pattern for higher levels of moral truth and cooperation. The book for the next session is the The Selfish Gene by Dawkins.

      September 3, 2013

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