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by Alexander Waugh

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This is a book about God.

Not just any god, but the god that created Adam and Eve; the god of Abraham, the god of the Jews; the god of the Christians; and the god of Islam---without a doubt, the most influential figure in the history of human civilization. But what do we really know about him? Who is he? Where did he come from? What does he look like? What


This is a book about God.

Not just any god, but the god that created Adam and Eve; the god of Abraham, the god of the Jews; the god of the Christians; and the god of Islam---without a doubt, the most influential figure in the history of human civilization. But what do we really know about him? Who is he? Where did he come from? What does he look like? What sort of character does he have? What, if anything, does he eat? Does he have a family? In what ways can he be said to even exist at all?

Alexander Waugh has been asking questions like these for as long as he can remember. Now, having drawn from an enormous range of sources, from the sacred books of the Torah, the Christian New Testament, and the Islamic Qur'an, from the Greek Apocrypha and the ancient texts of Nag Hammadi to the Dead Sea Scrolls, he has sought out the answers. Using material gleaned from the diverse writings of saints, rabbis, historians, prophets, atheists, poets, and mystics, he has molded his findings into a singular, striking biographical portrait of God.

Erudite, perceptive, and entertaining, God reveals many startling and unexpected characteristics of the divine being. From the simple stories of Genesis and Job, explored from God's own viewpoint, to the prophecies of Muhammad and Sybil and the intricate philosophies of Newton and Nietzsche, Alexander Waugh has left no stone unturned in his compulsive mission to create a fascinating and complex portrait of God, as humans have claimed to understand him.

Editorial Reviews


"Waugh's critique is ingenious. . . . He argues brilliantly."
--Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God

"Deeply felt and genuine . . .Waugh's biography is a search for love---and strangely, the god he leaves us with, however impossible, remains attractive." ---Jeanette Winterson, The Times

"Immensely entertaining, and a sovereign remedy against the absurdities and dangers of religious belief . . . clever and perceptive." ---Literary Review

"Waugh has produced a monumental jeu d'ésprit, a testimony to human ingenuity and imagination, a cornucopia of bizarre musings on a perennial theme." ---Financial Times

"Peculiar and delightful . . . I loved it." ---Mail on Sunday

"A tremendously funny book with a serious purpose." ---Scotland on Sunday

"Ten out of ten for the title. And ten out of ten for the idea, the approach, the style, the writing---above all the writing---and the sublime audacity of it all." ---Michael Brown, Yorkshire Post

"Waugh's scholarship is extremely impressive." ---New Humanist

"I feel enriched---though not in a manner that would please the parish priest---for having accompanied Waugh on his irreverent quest." ---Belfast Telegraph

"An exhilarating train ride. As an atheist I was much heartened by this book." ---The Spectator

"If God has a sense of humor then I suspect that Waugh's reward will be in heaven." ---Rabbi Charles Middleburgh, Jewish Review

"We desperately need to be challenged to think clearly about the ways we believe in God and this book certainly does that." ---Rev. Harvey Richardson, Methodist Recorder

"Alexander Waugh deserves an accolade." ---Oxford Times

"This book makes mincemeat of theism . . . it should be compulsory reading for all schools and colleges." ---A. C. Grayling, Literary Review
Publishers Weekly
Despite its title, this book should not be confused with Jack Miles's God: A Biography or Karen Armstrong's A History of God. Those books are works of serious scholarship for the general public; this one seems more like a Monty Pythonesque Book of Lists as Bertrand Russell might have compiled it. Waugh grandson of Evelyn, son of Auberon comes by his cynicism honestly and employs it relentlessly as he piles up thousands of tidbits about God from the Bible, the Qur'an, the Book of Mormon, the Mishnah, the Gnostic gospels, Dante, the medieval mystics and John Milton. Dividing his chapters by Shakespeare's seven ages of man, he amasses creation stories in chapter 1 ("Mewling and Puking"), stockpiles death-of-God philosophies in chapter 7 ("Sans Everything"), and in between accumulates snippets about every imaginable or unthinkable topic including God's preferred smells (burnt meat and incense), short memory and, above all, vicious cruelty. Though Waugh says that questions about God's existence and nature "ought to be treated with respect at the very least, for they are questions of the utmost historical significance," his own approach relies heavily on sarcasm and acrimony. "God must be gratified," he writes, "surprised, puzzled even, that he is nowadays so often described as `good' especially since the holy scriptures bear a considerable weight of testimony to the contrary." Readers who appreciate British schoolboy humor, are amused by exaggerated literalism and enjoy poking fun at organized religion will hail this encyclopedic mishmash. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
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Meet the Author

Alexander Waugh was born in 1963, and is the grandson of Evelyn Waugh, and a son of columnist Auberon Waugh and novelist Teresa Waugh. After studying music at Manchester University, he became Chief Opera Critic at the Mail on Sunday and the London Evening Standard. He has written several books on music, including Classical Music: A New Way of Listening, which has been translated into fourteen languages. He is also a publisher, cartoonist, composer, and illustrator. He lives in Somerset, England, with his wife and three children.

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God 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alexander Waugh's excellent little book delves into some of the stranger stories associated with Judeo-Christian-Muslim belief. What Waugh makes clear is that much of the Old Testament is a collection of just-so stories that strain ones faculty of belief. Can one believe in a God who does silly and capricious things like asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, and then when he does do it, God says, 'Just kidding'? There's nothing wrong with belief in goodness, kindness and concern for one's fellow man, but this book clarifies the fact that the Judeo-Christian-Muslim belief system is so hopelessly out of date, so tied to a culture not our own (that of a small goat herding middle-eastern tribe that lived about 3 to 4 thousand years ago)that believers have to jump over backwards to make sense of some of its ideas, rules and tenets. What Waugh shows through this very entertaining book is that much of the Bible is pure drivel fit only for the minds of people with no imagination and little intelligence. That guarantees it will continue to survive for another 2000 years at least! I recommend it to all persons who need their unbelief refurbished.