Authors: Guy P. Harrison
Guy P Harrison
Visit www.guyharrison.info for essays,
book reviews, and more by Guy P. Harrison.
For Natasha, Jared, and Marissa.
May your minds be curious and free forever
"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but now Guy Harrison has
given us 50 ways to believe in God, or not if you care to read this
engaging and enlightening book in light of what it says about the cultural and psychological power of belief. If the number one predictor
of which God someone believes in is what culture and time period
they happened to have been born in, what does that say about the
actual existence (or not) of a deity? Read this book to explore the
many and diverse reasons for belief."
Publisher of Skeptic magazine,
monthly columnist for Scientific American,
and author of Why Darwin Matters
"Guy P. Harrison does a splendid job of critically examining the
many reasons people offer in support of their religious beliefs. He
shares the exhilaration of moving beyond religion, but Harrison
doesn't bully or condescend. Rather, he approaches the reader gently.
Reading Harrison's book is like having an amiable chat with a wise
-Cameron M. Smith and Charles Sullivan
Authors of The Top 10 Myths about Evolution
"Religion is as universal as language, which hints at a biological basis.
Why did our ancestors evolve an attraction to the supernatural? The
fundamental question is not whether this attraction is rational or notwhich is the subject of a dozen recent provocative books-but what
exactly faith delivers to those who possess it. The present book treats
this question respectfully, listening to the answer of the believers
themselves, which seems an excellent place to start."
-Frans de Waal
Leading primatologist, author of Our Inner Ape
thank editors Steven L. Mitchell and Jacinta Meyers, and
Prometheus Books for helping to make this book a reality. I am
deeply grateful to my wife, Sheree, for her consistent encouragement
and my son, Jared, for his helpful advice. I also thank Andrea Roach
for her invaluable comments and criticism. My greatest debt of all,
however, is to the many people around the world who openly shared
with me their reasons for believing.
Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of
science or a dose of common sense.
No gods were harmed in the writing of this book.
-Guy P. Harrison
have asked many believers in many countries over several years a
basic question: Why do you believe in your god or gods? This
book is a response to the fifty most common answers I heard to that
question. Many people gave me virtually identical reasons for belief,
despite being adherents of contradictory religions. I learned that the
gods may be very different and the faithful may sometimes hate and
kill one another, but believers are remarkably synchronized on why