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The worst religion book of the year: “Why are Women More Religious than Men?”

December 18, 2012

As we end the latter half of December 2012, it is an opportunity to look back over the year and assess its cultural and scholarly peaks and valleys.  A publishing low point was arguably reached with a truly awful study from Aberdeen:   Why are Women More Religious than Men?   The Aberdeen authors make broad impressionistic claims that women are more “caring” than men (because they have babies – see page 97), and thus more religious.  Yep, that’s their thesis. 

Extra bonus points for badness because the book begins with this sentence:  “We will introduce our problem by describing four photographs of chapel front doors from County Durham, in the north of England.”  If I were writing a book, I’d use this opportunity actually show the four photographs.  This book could have simply shown the photographs, but instead prefers to give a written description of the photographs.

The book is frozen in a 1950s view of women that I thought had completely disappeared from academic discourse.  Apparently, in these authors’ world, June Cleaver is still passively waiting for Ward to come home from work.

The book largely ignores religions other Christianity (and in particular, religious culture in the Far East and Middle East).  It feeds directly into my belief that most of those who engage in scholarship on sex differences thrive on superficial stereotypes.

I cannot even recommend this book for use as kindling or for personal hygiene – the paper seems to be slightly coated so it is unlikely to burn as well as newspaper or to be as comfortable as a roll of double-ply.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 18, 2012 7:41 pm

    Thank you for reviewing this. I hope to comment later this evening when I have more than a minute. I am still at work – being caring perhaps, but not religious.

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 19, 2012 1:53 am

    Delusions of Gender is a good book on this topic, which you recommended some time ago.

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