Breaking the Spell

Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Daniel C. Dennett

With a scholarly tone, Daniel Dennett attempts to analyze the true nature of religion and its effect on humanity by investigating its influence scientifically.


Product Description

Religion, for many people, is vivid and central component of life. Religion comforts people in sickness and sorrow, is an integral tool in their relationships and family life, and has encouraged human coexistence to magnificent and awful ends. Because religion remains such a powerful force in our lives, it is important that we fully understand and are mindful of its influence and what that means for humanity as a whole. While some of the religious may be wary of outsiders examining their faith through a scientific lens, doing so is crucial for the success of humanity.

In his daring book, author Daniel C. Dennett seeks to uncover the origins of faith and why it means so much to so many different people.His analytical discussion tries to determine how and why religions have become so powerful, and why they can be so life-shaping. Where do they come from? Why are so many so devoted to God? What basis do they have in our biology? In our psychology? Is a life lived in a religious faith really the best life that a person can live? All important, fundamental human questions that Dennett explores in his latest book. He sets out to discuss why and how religions have commanded allegiance, become so potent, and shaped so many lives so strongly. Where does our devotion to God come from? What was the psychological and cultural soil in which religion first took root? Is it an addiction or a genuine need that we should try to preserve at any cost? Is it the product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Do those who believe in God have good reasons for doing so? Are people right to say that the best way to live a good life is through religion? These are the types of questions Dennett seeks answers to.

Dennett explores how religions formed, and how they might evolve moving forward. Note please that Breaking the Spell is not the author’s attempt to crush institutional religion, but rather an open-minded exploration of those forces in our lives and systems. While religious debates rage on, Dennett’s book is a reasoned and calm discussion that believers and nonbelievers each will find useful to further their own understanding.

User reviews

Break the Religious Spell, pick up this book.

By Randall Jimenez, Albuquerque, NM

This is the greatest book I've ever read on religion. In Breaking the Spell, Daniel Dennett seeks to literally break the religious spell which has been cast on his readers, depicting religion as a natural and sociological phenomenon. I considered myself to be extremely religious for most of my life and I found this book fascinating and inspiring. Dennett presents some great arguments, looking at human spirituality and religion as the product of evolution and society. This book examines the roots of all religion, how it attempts to make humans moral, and what it brings to our overall quality of life. If you've ever questioned the origins of your faith or been interested in why so many people turn to god in times of trouble, this book makes for some enlightening reading.