Download PDF by Matthew Kneale: An Atheist's History of Belief: Understanding Our Most

By Matthew Kneale

ISBN-10: 1619024691

ISBN-13: 9781619024694

What first caused prehistoric guy, sheltering within the shadows of deep caves, to name upon the world of the spirits? And why has trust thrived due to the fact that, shaping hundreds of thousands of generations of shamans, pharaohs, Aztec clergymen and Mayan rulers, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, Nazis, and Scientologists?

As our desires and nightmares have replaced over the millennia, so have our ideals. The gods we created have developed and mutated with us via a story fraught with human sacrifice, political upheaval and bloody wars.

Belief used to be man's such a lot epic exertions of invention. it's been our closest better half, and has mankind around the continents and during history.

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Sample text

He had predicted that, if Israelites did not worship only Yahweh and obey his laws, their kingdom would be destroyed. Now, one would think, Jews in the surviving southern kingdom of Judah would take notice of Hosea’s claims. Not at all. The Judaeans remained firm polytheists. The next twist came precisely one century after the fall of the kingdom of Israel. In 622 BC, a curious event took place, which makes it clear that somebody, finally, had been won over to Hosea’s ideas. The king of Judah, Josiah, sent his secretary, Shaphan, to the temple of Jerusalem, to deal with some minor payments and repairs.

Across the next two millennia, although other apocalyptic writings would join the fray, the leader of the pack would always be the Book of Daniel. This relatively short document would inspire innumerable movements, which were frequently disastrous for all involved, and mesmerises some people to this day. What made this piece of writing so enduring? In some ways it was a rather unlikely success. Its forgery was clumsy. Having ‘predicted’ past events with perfect accuracy, it quickly ran into trouble when it tried to make a real prediction.

And why was an idea that now seems key to religion not devised far sooner? A possible answer to both these questions is that life was getting better. As we have seen, in early farming societies peoples’ lives were generally tough, short and full of fears. Their chief concern would have been to avoid disaster. As disaster was thought to be caused by angry gods, it made sense that people concentrated on constantly placating their deities with offerings. From the second millennium BC, however, this worldview started to change.

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An Atheist's History of Belief: Understanding Our Most Extraordinary Invention by Matthew Kneale


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