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4.0 out of 5 stars Science as applied to religious experience, 3 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Biology of God (Hardcover)
Can what the breadth of subjective experience be explained entirely by external causes? An honest attempt by a leading scientist to describe and categorise a variety of apparently ubiquitous releigious experiences. As ever, I expect that it will delight believers but leave sceptics unmoved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spirituality as part of our natural history, 2 Aug 2013
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Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Biology of God (Hardcover)
The Biology of God by Alister Hardy, Jonathan Cape, London, 1975, 242 ff

Some readers might find the title of this book puzzling - or blasphemous even, if they are religious fundamentalists. But Sir Alister Hardy's intention in writing this book, which is encapsulated by the title, is to emphasize that belief in the numinous is neither supernatural nor paranormal but a natural part of the evolutionary process. Professionally the author was a marine biologist who from his mid-20s was fascinated by the scientific significance of spiritual experiences, descriptions of which occasionally made it onto the pages of the popular press.

Hardy spent the greater part of his life, and increasingly in retirement (he was 89 when he died), devoted to the recording of spiritual experiences of all types so that they could be statistically analysed in a rational and scientific way. The aim was to show, as he records in this book, that spiritual events were as real a part of human experience as sex. He believed that by approaching religious experience in a scientific way it would be possible to reduce or eliminate the barriers between science and religion.

This excellent book is truly an account of `natural theology' from basic principles - how people experience their divine. How Sir Alister came to set up the Religious Experience Research Centre at Oxford University and the kinds of experience now recorded in their archives are described here. To paraphrase Dean Inge who is quoted within its pages (p.93): the book gives no accounts of miracles, it does not depend on some unique revelation through any historical person, has no narratives about the beginning or end of the world and presents no apologetic except the testimonies of spiritual experience. This book is easier to read than the somewhat better known title, The Spiritual Nature of Man, that followed a few years later because The Biology of God discusses ideas while the later book recounts specific examples and therefore the writing style inevitable varies throughout.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness

Spiritual Nature of Man: Study of Contemporary Religious Experience
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The Biology of God
The Biology of God by Sir Alister Hardy (Hardcover - 10 July 1975)
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