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Outgrowing God summary

Richard Dawkins

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4.1 (396 ratings)
24 mins

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Outgrowing God by Richard Dawkins is a critical examination of religious belief. Dawkins explains how science can replace religion by providing logical explanations for the universe's complexities. He encourages readers to think critically and question religious dogma.

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    Outgrowing God
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    Faith is an accident of birth, not a valid reason to believe in God. 

    God is a pretty awesome being. He’s all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful. He’s the superhero of superheroes. Nothing and no one rivals his incredible capacities. 

    This omnipotent, omniscient being is the God of the three main monotheistic religions of today – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But there’s a problem. If this God is so awesome, so powerful, and so unique, how come he’s just one among many? In fact, only one among thousands

    That’s right. There are many gods other than the God of the main monotheistic religions. Thousands of gods have been worshipped throughout history and into the present day. The Vikings, for instance, were polytheists – they believed in multiple gods. Wotan was their primary god, but they had others, such as Thor, the thunder god who carried a hammer, and Snotra, the goddess of wisdom. The Greek gods and goddesses included Zeus, the king of the gods, Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Poseidon, god of the sea. 

    Even so, if we put together all the Greek and Viking gods along with the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian God, they’d still add up to just a tiny fraction of the gods that humans and all their religions have worshipped throughout history. Even the number of gods solely dedicated to the sun is huge: Many indigenous African religions have sun gods such as Anywanwu, Mawu, and Ngai. Australian aboriginal sun gods include Bila, Wala, and Karruar. 

    But despite the variety of gods available, the ones that people worship and the religions that they follow depend more on the time and place they were born than anything else. Why is this significant? Because this means that your own faith is most likely a consequence of the time and place you were born. If you’d been born during Viking times, you would have believed in Wotan and Thor. If you’d been born into an aboriginal family in Australia, you would probably have believed in sun gods such as Bila or Wala.  

    If there are so many religions and so many gods, how can you be sure that your religion or god is the one true one? Obviously, you can’t. If all the other religions are wrong, what makes you think your own religion and scripture isn’t wrong, too? 

    The fact of the matter is, the holy books of the most dominant monotheistic religions of today are wrong. Indeed, the origins of these books raise plenty of doubt about the truth of their contents. 

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    What is Outgrowing God about?

    Outgrowing God (2019) shows us why we should all be atheists. Revealing how holy books such as the Bible are full of untruths and historical inaccuracies, Richard Dawkins argues that we can’t take these books seriously, nor should we rely on them for moral guidance. To explain all the awesome complexity and improbability of living things, we should look to science, and specifically to the process of evolution. It is evolution, by way of natural selection, that gave rise to us and other living creatures from the bottom up. 

    Outgrowing God Review

    Outgrowing God (2019) by Richard Dawkins provides an engaging exploration of religion, atheism, and the origins of belief. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Thought-provoking: It challenges common religious beliefs, encouraging critical thinking and a deeper understanding of our world.
    • Informative and educational: It delves into scientific evidence and evolutionary biology, providing a well-researched perspective on why we believe what we believe.
    • Engaging and accessible: Dawkins presents complex ideas in a clear and concise manner, avoiding jargon and ensuring readers can easily follow along.

    Best quote from Outgrowing God

    Our modern morality, whether we are religious or not, is very different from biblical morality. 

    —Richard Dawkins
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    Who should read Outgrowing God?

    • Agnostics who are uncertain whether to believe in God or not
    • Religious people who want to understand atheism
    • Atheists seeking a better grasp on arguments against believing in God

    About the Author

    Richard Dawkins is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was previously the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. An ethologist and evolutionary biologist by training, he is the best-selling author of many books, including The Selfish Gene (1976), The God Delusion (2006), and The Magic of Reality (2011). 

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    Outgrowing God FAQs 

    What is the main message of Outgrowing God?

    Outgrowing God explores the journey from religious belief to atheism, questioning the origins and validity of religious teachings.

    How long does it take to read Outgrowing God?

    The reading time for Outgrowing God varies, but it would take a few hours to read the book. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Outgrowing God a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Outgrowing God is worth reading for its thought-provoking insights into religion and atheism. It offers a fresh perspective on questioning belief systems.

    Who is the author of Outgrowing God?

    The author of Outgrowing God is Richard Dawkins.

    What to read after Outgrowing God?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Outgrowing God, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
    • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
    • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
    • The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins
    • Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
    • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
    • The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
    • The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas Salzgeber