God Paperback – 3 Mar 2003
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Alexander Waugh, the grandson of Evelyn Waugh and son of Auberon, has produced a book about God which manages to be both shallow and erudite at the same time. In other words, Waugh has done his homework and learned a lot about God in the various religions, but he maintains a salacious and flippant tone throughout which is neither amusing nor thought provoking. On the good side, the book is packed full of interesting facts about God and religion. The structure of the book is more scattergram than logical outline, but the information is tersely presented in short readable chunks so the reader can dip into the book and read as much or as little as he wants. There's also a good index and bibliography for serious God hunters.
While this is an interesting grab bag overview of the Deity, it's too bad that Waugh has to maintain his insouciant public-schoolboy style throughout. It's a pity he couldn't manage just a little bit of personal wonder or reverence for his subject. Readers who would prefer something with a rather broader vision might try Professor Keith Ward's God--a guide for the perplexed. --Dwight Longenecker --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Immensely entertaining, and a sovereign remedy against the absurdities and dangers of religious belief ... funny and whimsical ... clever and perceptive (A C Grayling, Literary Review)
a highly readable book (Newcastle Journal)
[a] sprightly exercise in comparative religion. Mr Waugh is intelligent and his breadth of reading is admirable (Sunday Telegraph)
Peculiar and delightful... I loved it. Waugh's light-hearted approach is deceptive: some formidable research has gone into this book (Douglas Kennedy, Mail on Sunday)
A deeply felt and genuine exploration... Waugh's biography is a search for love - and strangely, the god he leaves us with, however impossible, remains attractive. (Jeanette Winterson, The Times)
This is a learned guide to theology in a jokey guise (Independent)
It should really be God: Unauthorized... Waugh draws on such a broad gamut of respected, accepted and worshipped sources, this is probably as close as we'll ever get to finding out what God is actually like (Scotsman)
Ten out of ten for the idea, the approach, the style, the writing - above all, the writing - and the sublime audacity of it all ... Waugh writes like an impious angel; wittily and rivetingly (Michael Brown, Yorkshire Post)
A testimony to human ingenuity and imagination...Waugh's GOD combines philosophical wrangling with the delightfully insolent tone of 1066 AND ALL THAT (Christopher Silvester, Financial Times)
[Waugh's] sardonic, urbane tone is in the tradition of Gibbon or Hume...very funny. Pleasingly original...wherever you stand - or think you do - on the God question, this is a good read (Susan Elkin, Independent)
With mischievous wit and erudition...Waugh's tremendously funny book has, however, a serious purpose (S.B.Kelly, Scotland on Sunday)
[An] erudite, scholarly, irreverent and impeccably researched biography of the supreme being... daringly brilliant and witty treatise (George Osgerby, Tribune)
Colourful, funny, deep and perceptive (A.C.Grayling, Independent on Sunday)
An idiosyncratic, intriguing and often charming book about God (Brendan Walsh, The Tablet)
Top Customer Reviews
Waugh's book is not like that. Whereas The Age of Reason was a deliberately abrasive and powerful attack on the Bible and 'revealed' religion, "God" is a light-hearted and flippant treatment of the same subject. I found it entertaining, informative, and I am glad I bought it.
It is essential for any freethinking student of the world's religions to bypass the received opinions of theology and put the cards on the table face-up so to speak, as Tom Paine did. It is only then that you can see plainly the glaring problems of superstition and human invention which abound in all the sacred texts which are supposed to be communicated from God to man.
It is not 'how' an author presents his subject that leads to the truth, but the 'facts' he produces in support of his case that really matters for our enlightenment. So, like Tom Paine, Alexander Waugh has presented us with a mixed bag of possibly unwelcome facts (to some people) in an easily readable format taken from various ancient religious texts. These extracts further help the modern thinker to assess the relevance today (with our far more general education) of the puny and demeaning concepts of God in the Bible etc. "God" is a good book and worth having in your collection. Howell Thomas.
The book is comprised of 7 chapters divided into short sections, thus it is easily digestable, though some may find this style erratic, and not linear enough.
Personally, I feel this is part of the charm of the book. Waugh has a very dry sense of humour, and I laughed out loud on several occasions (this may cause a problem for the deeply religious.)
There are many interesting things that Waugh puts forward: the polytheistic origins of the Bible, the Egyptian origins of Moses, the needing by Christians of the Old Testament, for the sake of origional sin. (some of these well known, others not so).
Is this an atheistic book? No, I don't think so, but it is certainly not a Christian book. (And will definately appeal to atheists - myself included). I believe that Waughs main point is that the Christian God - an all loving, all knowing God can not coexist with the God of Israel - a Genocidal maniac, with a penchant for the smell of burning flesh. But, herein lies the weekness. I say I think this is Waughs point, but I really do not know. The last chapter doesn't really seem to have an aim, and reluctantly ambles to it's conclusion. I think is mainly because of Waugh's reluctance to share his religious beliefs, or lack thereof - rather like his father, as described in the forward. Still, this is the only real weakness, in an otherwise funny, and thought provoking book. The main lesson I took from it is that an atheists biggest weapon is scripture, itself. I'm off to read the Bible, now...
The book is organized into bite-size sections, some as short as a paragraph, grouped within seven major parts, the first "Mewling and Puking" and the last "Sans Everything" (from the famous "All the world's a stage" speech). Early on, Waugh asks: "Has anyone actually seen God?" It's the kind of question that might have earned the young Waugh a clip round the ear from the chaplain.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really loved this book. Waugh's colourful and irreverent romp through the huge swathes of material (mostly biblical, but going much wider overall in terms of sources, albeit... Read morePublished on 11 Mar. 2012 by Sebastian Palmer
Unlikely as it may appear, this book is exceptionally easy to read, deeply revealing and properly laugh out loud funny. Fabulous read, I couldn't recommend it more highlyPublished on 21 Nov. 2011 by littlefatfriend
This is a superb book. I have given it to both priests and atheists. It is scholarly and approachable.Published on 2 July 2009 by Mrs. P. M. A. Prideaux