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Wathey’s writing is strong and his examples are accessible to the layperson, even though this is anything but a light philosophical and theological read. Not for the faint of heart, Wathey’s analysis of the roots of religious and spiritual feeling—while highly sympathetic and respectful of the faithful—will certainly challenge believing readers.
- Staks Rosch, from review in Publisher's Weekly
...Wathey demonstrates the explanatory fruitfulness of his theory. He argues that it can explain a diversity of questions under the same banner: why nearly all religions are obsessed with sexual proscription and taboos, or why denial of God consistently attracts such anger, or why prayer so often involves kneeling and prostration, or even why churches and temples have common architectural motifs. He does venture into speculation that the greater religiosity of women is partly biological, which I suspect will attract some opposition. But overall, when it comes to secular works on the origins of religious belief, this is a thoughtful and worthwhile contribution and a persuasive case for atheism.
- Adam Lee, from review at DayLight Atheism
Leaving behind fear or hope in the imaginary, John C. Wathey in this erudite, engaging study guides readers toward a secular ethics aimed at reducing our numbers and easing our impact upon "the web of life that is our real creator."
- John L. Murphy, DeVry University, from review in New York Journal of Books
The writing is clear and perfectly proofed... With a gentle hand, using his own parental bond with his religious father for rueful illustration, Mr. Wathey gives advice on how to preserve precious familial bonds whilst transitioning away from faith. In a similarly caring note, there is material on how to interact with the real world absent a belief system.
- David Lloyd Sutton, from review at Manhattan Book Review
Many ethologists have written books on religion, but this work, written not by an ethologist or psychologist but by a well-read computational biologist, is in many respects the most satisfying of the breed. It deserves the attention of scholars of religion, theologians, and anyone else interested in psychological aspects of religion, religiosity, and spirituality... Wathey is both more knowledgeable about religion and more sympathetic to the psychology of believers than such writers as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Jerry Coyne.
- Gordon M. Burghardt, from review in The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion
Wathey hits the nail on the head... when relating the findings of modern science that do not support any notion of a soul or an afterlife: “Contrary to popular wisdom, science has much to say about the existence of the immortal soul and the afterlife. These insights have not permeated popular wisdom mainly because they are not what most people want to hear”
- William Zingrone, from review at Dispatches from the New Enlightenment