Atheist's History of Belief, Understanding our most
extraordinary invention' - the new non-fiction
book from the author of 'English Passengers', winner
of the Whitbread Book of the year Award'
Kneale is an atheist but not a militant one. In this
unusual and personal history, he seeks not to disprove
belief in its various forms but to discover why we
believe and what has shaped those beliefs. He structures
his book as a collection of stories, lucidly told.
He is not interested in institutions but in religion
as a fundamental need – it is, he argues, “humankind’s
greatest imaginative project".
Atheist’s History of Belief’
is a short, concise, and meticulously researched account,
written by a fascinated non-believer. The book looks
at how our beliefs developed, and, most of all, asks
why we devised such things? What led us first to invent
Gods? Why did we invent heaven, and introduce morality
into religion? What led us to invent the end of the
world? How did Christianity, a short-lived and intensely
Jewish end of the world movement, go on to gain religious
near monopoly over a large part of the globe?
book does not concern itself with religious institutions
and their power struggles. It likewise avoids religious
jargon. Beginning 33,000 years ago and continuing
up to the present, the book describes the beliefs
that ordinary people developed to try and make sense
of their world.
book does not seek to belittle religious beliefs.
It regards them as essential for a proper understanding
of our world. The author considers belief to be greatest
imaginative project - one that non-believers ignore
at their peril. Human history, he feels, can be better
understood, not through the clear air of scientific
discovery, but rather through the murky waters of
intense, emotional, and, at times, downright odd,