For the next few days, Andrew Sullivan has turned his site, the Daily Dish. over to Robert Wright, author of "The Evolution Of God".
I'm about halfway through the book, and it's pure, undiluted greatness.
Since I'm not through with the book, I'm not going to attempt a summary. Here's a good one, though, from a Disciples Of Christ minister in Troy, Michigan.
The idea that God has evolved may be off-putting to some and welcomed by others. How one responds to this idea may depend both on what is meant by the phrase and where one stands in regards to the idea of God. A believer may take this idea differently than will an unbeliever. Philip Clayton, in his book Adventures in the Spirit (Fortress, 2008) encourages believers in God to welcome dialog with science and philosophy, and not to fear any challenging implications to faith. It is with that sense of openness that I came to Robert Wright’s fascinating study of the evolution of the idea of God, from its origins in hunter/gather societies to the development of the great religions – especially the three Abrahamic religions. Wright admits that he approached this study with an agnostic sensibility. Indeed, the focus here is not on whether God exists, but how humans have envisioned and approached the idea of God. His is a materialist description, assuming that ideas of faith have evolved because they fulfill a role in society. Indeed, when he speaks of specific religious expressions he takes a rather minimalist view – that is Jesus said and did little of what has been ascribed to him, and the stories of early Judaism, from Abraham to Moses, likely did not happen.
Wright will be posting on the Daily Dish for the rest of this week. Go there.