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Adieu to God: Why Psychology Leads to Atheism

Mick Power

ISBN: 978-0-470-66993-8 February 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 214 Pages



Adieu to God examines atheism from a psychological perspective and reveals how religious phenomena and beliefs are psychological rather than supernatural in origin.
  • Answers the psychological question of why, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, do religions continue to prosper?
  • Looks at atheism and religion using a fair and balanced approach based on the latest work in psychology, sociology, anthropology, psychiatry and medicine
  • Acknowledges the many psychological benefits of religion while still questioning the validity of its supernatural belief systems and providing atheist alternatives to a fulfilling life
Preface ix

1. A Short History of Religion 1

2. The Psychology of Religion—The Varieties of Normal Experience 33

3. The Psychology of Religion—The Varieties of Abnormal Experience 61

4. Social Structures and Religion 89

5. Religion, Power, and Control 113

6. Religion and Health 141

7. How to Be a Healthy Atheist 167

References 181

Author Index 191

Subject Index 195

“In this fascinating little book (201 pages, including references and a subject index), Mick Power communicates no such tinge of agnosticism when proclaiming in the preface of Adieu to God: Why Psychology Leads to Atheismthat “my belief is that psychology (with help from philosophy, anthropology, sociology, physics, biology . . .) offers a far more powerful explanation than any religious system ever will” (p.x).”  (PsycCRITIQUES, 1 June 2013)

“His final chapter summarises the argument and proposes how one might be a healthy atheist with a sense of meaning and purpose, a sense of belonging and community and a set of personal goals and values.  He does not forecast the disappearance of religions but proposes how they can be explained in terms of psychology and sociology.”  (The Scientific & Medical Network, 1 April 2012)