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"The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture" by Darrel W. Ray

Another great book encouraging thinking before believing, namely in a religious sense.

Science. Internet. Reason. Thinking. Logic. Life. Humanity.

These are a few components in which religion is slowly—hopefully—dissipating. After reading a couple of books prior in terms of religion and what it does to our minds, this book cleaned up the mess and any debris leftover. Like author Ray, I was teetering with doubt until it was about time I completely rejected religion. Atheistic? Yes, but because of its uneasy truth, I've been keeping quiet about it. It's like friends and/or family rejecting their loved one because they're either gay/lesbian, transgender, and yes, rejected religion altogether.

Off the bat, you'll notice that the book reads similar to a biology book. Religion is the virus that controls our minds, continually weakening it with fear and despair, only to finally control your every move in everything in life. The moment you're born, you're automatically a sinner even before you learned how to walk and talk; you can't masturbate because it's a sin; you can't expand your education because God says so, and you must do what He says even though He's making you suffer, having created Satan. Now that you've read some of that, I'm hoping you're as aggravated as I am was. However, that doesn't mean that having rejected religion I can do whatever law-breaking activity I can do. No, the point is dumping the virus away from your well-being, and hey, if you want to obtain a Ph.D, go for it; if you want to have sex (always use protection, of course), go have sex. Whatever it is that your religion restricts you of doing, don't feel guilty about doing it. On the other hand, there are things we all agree we shouldn't do, like murder, rape and so on. Religion is a walking contradiction, and having it tell you that it's okay to kill someone in the name of Jesus/Allah/Mohammed shouldn't sit well with anyone—literally. In fact, religion is there to separate us from getting along and living well together as humans. (I'm beginning to envy countries like Denmark and Switzerland—one of the least religious, yet happiest countries in the world. It'll be a long way for America to turn that way, but hoping I'll still be alive to witness it as science and the internet are becoming chiseled into our lives.)

"The civil religion is as viral as any religion. Recall how any religion disables the critical thinking areas of the brain in its followers with respect to their own religion. They can see the irrationality of others' religious beliefs but are blind to their own." — (Ray, Ed.D., 2009, p.64)

This couldn't be anymore true. When someone finally comes out and admits to losing belief, the religious believers slander and belittle that non-believer reminding them that they'll be in Hell, they won't be friends ever again and will always place a large gap to separate themselves from them. This must mean that being a Satanist is less harmful. There's really no way out of this one—you either accept someone's lack of beliefs, or never mingle with anyone forever (considering that worshipping Satan is bad enough). Amazing because these religious folks think well when pointing out someone's beliefs, or lack thereof, but turn pale the moment they're cornered about their beliefs.

"It took two world wars for the Europeans to realize that the prayers of millions of people were not answered. It doesn't take much intelligence to see that the god isn't working too well when 92 million people die in two world wars, or to see the complicity and cooperation of the Pope, Lutheran clergy and Christians with Hitler during WWII." (Ray, Ed.D., 2009, p.75)

"I saw very of that [church money] going to teach children how to read, how to manage a small farm more effectively or how to build local infrastructure and conserve resources. Instead, thousands of Bibles and religious tracts were purchased and distributed, religious services were conducted, hundreds of people were baptized, hundreds of children memorized scripture verses, by at the end of the day, there was little done to bring people out of their poverty or provide them with the skills needed to live in a fast-moving modern world." (Ray, Ed.D., 2009, p.80)

"Being clear about responsibility is a huge advantage for the non-theist. You are not going to waste time and energy trying to read some god's tea leaves to figure out the plan. You don't worry about whether a god is looking over your shoulder when you think a bad thought. How much do you worry about disappointing the Virgin Mary? When was the last time you worried about offending Allah? In normal day-to-day life, you are saving energy and emotion for more important things." (Ray, Ed.D., 2009, p.129)

"Living virus-free means you can live your life without looking in the rear view mirror to see if some god or devil is coming after you. You can keep your eyes on the road and make decisions based on current reality without the interference of ever-shifting religious complications." (Ray, Ed.D., 2009, p.187)

I can't stress enough of how bad religious beliefs tortures us humans. Our goal, while we're here, is to live a prosperous life. Yes, conflict shows up at times but that shouldn't stop us from acquiring societal utopia. If you're still not convinced get this:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Taken directly from the Bible, this is saying that you cannot be God's follower unless you strongly oppose loving your family and other loved ones. That's not a very good god at all. My parents are the reason I'm here; my friends, who shaped the person that I am, are the reason I'm still standing. Opposing them is a one-way ticket to social ostracism.

From science to sex, from psychology to politics, this book is packed with information that'll leave you wanting more (or re-read again). What else, you'll be able to live happily without worrying about angering the clouds above you and just doing what your heart desires. Friendly, simple writing.

Strongly recommended.





  • Fantastic take on challenging religion.
  • Integrates quotes from the bible to secure Ray's arguments.
  • Proves happiness can be attained without a supernatural being.
  • No follow-up or updated version was ever released.
95% (A)
Fan Rating
Title The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives And Culture
Author(s) Darrel W. Ray, Ed.D.
Description --
Dedication "Dedicated to Dan Dana"
ISBN 978-0-9709505-1-2
Book Dimensions Width: 6.0″ (6 1/16″)
Height: 9.0″
Depth: 1.5″ (1 ½)
Page Count 248
Contents Preface and Acknowledgements, Introduction, twelve (12) chapters, Index
Editors Deborah Shouse, Kirsten McBride
Book Design ???
Author Photograph --
Published December 05, 2009
Publisher IPC Press
Copyright © 2009 by Darrel W. Ray
Printed in United States of America
Book Format Perfect Paperback, eBook, Kindle, Audible Audio Edition (Unabridged)
Quoted Reviews "This was a life-changing book for me! I rarely read a book twice, but this invoked such reaction I had to read it again" — Terrill (see Chapter 10)

"I am a religious person, a churchgoer. Nevertheless this one-of-a-kind book is a viral reminder of the fact that we need to look objectively at what religion does to us." — Frank Schaeffer, Author, 'CRAZY FOR GOD-How I grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back' (2008)

"Darrel Ray has made a marvelous contribution to understanding of ourselves. The description of religion as a cultural virus is not new, but Darrel is the first to put the virus on a slide and pull out the microscope. The God Virus goes beyond analogy, offering a fascinating and detailed look at the wiggling, maddening virus itself-how it moves, how it survives, and how and why it continues to thrive." — Dale McGowan, Author/editor, 'Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers' Harvard Humanist of the Year (2008)

"The God Virus offers a unique and provocative framework that goes a long way toward understanding, an ultimately combating, the pernicious religious mania of the human species." — Dan Barker, Author, 'Losing Faith in Faith' (1992) and 'Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists' Forword by Richard Dawkins (2008)

"For those hungering for more after reading the books written by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Dennett, Dr. Darrel Ray's The God Virus is a logical and thought-provoking follow-up. By extending the metaphor of religion as a virus, the reader gets a better understanding of the incredible power religion can have on anyone's way of thinking (Dr. Ray shows that even your IQ is negatively affected!). Lest anyone think this is just a putdown of religion, it also gives excellent advice on how to live life without a God, from marriage to raising children. It's book that non-believers will enjoy and religious readers can only dare to read." — Hemant Mehta, Author, 'I Sold My Soul on eBay' (2007)

"Dr. Ray's approach is non-confrontational. He advocates understanding and tolerance. While his study is professionally founded, it is not overly technical. His writing is jargon-free, lucid and accessible. Interesting quotes from historical figures, founding Fathers, modern philosophers and writers sprinkle the text. He gets inside the American fundamentalist movement in ways which show that such entities have collective life of their own, functioning as large-scale organisms which their individual members may not themselves understand or be aware of." — Earl Doherty, Author, 'The Jesus Puzzle' (2005)
Best Seller's List --
Other Visit www.thegodvirus.net for additional information.
Library of Congress
Cataloging-in-Publication Data
1. Sociobiology—Religious aspects.
2. Psychology, Religious.
3. Religion and science
I. Title.
II. Title: Fifty reasons people give for believing in a god
CIP Number QBI08-600322
LC Control Number ???
LC Call Number BL261.R39  2009
DDC Call Number 215—dc22


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