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21. At the Origins of Modern Atheism
22. Atheism, Morality, and Meaning
23. Real Face of Atheism, The
24. Atheism in Christianity: The Religion
25. When Atheism Becomes Religion:
26. Christian No More: On Leaving
27. The Rage Against God: How Atheism
28. Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts
29. Dictionary Of Atheism, Skepticism,
30. Spiritual Atheism
31. Atheism (A Brief Insight)
32. Flirting with Faith: My Spiritual
33. Natural Atheism
34. Atheism and Alienation
35. Why Atheism?
36. What Is Atheism?: A Short Introduction
37. The Logic of Atheism, 3 Lectures
38. Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism
39. After Atheism: Science, Religion
40. The New Gospel of Christian Atheism

21. At the Origins of Modern Atheism
by Michael J. Buckley S.J.
Paperback: 253 Pages (1990-08-29)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$36.00
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Asin: 0300048971
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In this book, Michael J. Buckley investigates the rise of modern atheism, arguing convincingly that its roots reach back to the seventeenth century, when Catholic theologians began to call upon philosophy and science-rather than any intrinsically religious experience-to defend the existence of god. Buckley discusses in detail thinkers such as Lessius, Mersenne, Descartes, and Newton, who paved the way for the explicit atheism of Diderot and D'Holbach in the eighteenth century. "[A] capaciously learned and brilliantly written book...This is one of the most interesting and closely argued works on theology that i have read in the last decade."-Lawrence S. Cunningham, Theology Today ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Persistence of Erroneous Definitions of Atheism
A correction like this should not necessary, but in the interest of truth, it must be made yet again--atheism is not a theory.In its strong form, it is an ontological consequence of some theories, e.g. metaphysical naturalism.But the consequence itself is not a theory in any sense of the word.In its weak form, atheism is neither a theory nor a belief.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterly Study
In an age where atheism is generally taken to be the 'default' or 'neutral' position and where the burden of proof is presumed to rest with theism, it is invigorating to read a book that treats atheism as a theory or school with its own intellectual history. Buckley's concern is not to trace atheism to its very origins but rather to explore the way in which early modern thinkers such as Descartes in their attempts to place theism onsecure 'scientific' foundations unwittingly gave rise to exactly the opposite position. Buckley's study is a major achievement in the history of ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Mandatory reading!
This is probably the most influential book I've read, and I've read quite a few.It is a trenchant bit of historical work, explaining how the question of the existence of God became translated out of theology andultimately into physics and science.This book will rock any atheist'sworld. ... Read more

22. Atheism, Morality, and Meaning (Prometheus Lecture Series)
by Michael Martin
Paperback: 330 Pages (2002-10)
list price: US$22.98 -- used & new: US$12.46
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Asin: 1573929875
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Despite the pluralism of contemporary American culture, the Judaeo-Christian legacy still has a great deal of influence on the popular imagination. Thus it is not surprising that in this context atheism has a slightly scandalous ring, and unbelief is often associated with the lack of morality and a meaningless existence. Distinguished philosopher and committed atheist Michael Martin sets out to refute such notions in this thorough defense of atheism as both a moral and a meaningful philosophy of life. Martin shows not only that objective morality and a purposeful life are possible without belief in God but also that the predominantly Christian worldview of American society is seriously flawed as the basis of morality and meaning.

Divided into four parts, this cogent and tightly argued treatise begins with a refutation of well-known criticisms of nonreligious ethics and then develops an atheistic metaethics. In part 2, Martin criticizes the Christian foundation of ethics, specifically the Divine Command Theory and the idea of imitating the life of Jesus as the basis of Christian morality. Part 3 demonstrates that life can be meaningful in the absence of religious belief. Part 4 evaluates the theistic point of view in general terms as well as the specific Christian doctrines of Atonement, Salvation, and the Resurrection.

This highly informed and sophisticated defense of atheism is a stimulating challenge to religious believers and a serious contribution to ethical theory. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars The standard--and a little tired--tradition
Professor emeritus of philosophy at Boston University, Michael Martin is something of a guru among those who see him as a champion of atheism.Among his best-known titles are ATHEISM: A PHILOSOPHICAL JUSTIFICATION and THE CASE AGAINST CHRISTIANITY.In the present volume, he sets out to defend atheism against the claim that it cannot provide a basis for morality or purposeful existence.He also aims to show that attempts to provide such a basis by means of a Christian worldview are seriously flawed.However, several impediments prevent this from being either a very inviting or successful book.First, while the formal analytical style of argument aims at logical rigor, it will seem labored, dry, and distracting to many readers.Second, despite the fact that Martin references a new generation of disputants, few of the arguments are new or philosophically interesting, but tired variations on time-worn, threadbare cavils from generations ago.Third, the entire tenor of discussion betrays an uncritical acceptance of a logical empiricist frame of reference, in which what counts as "evidence" or "refutation" seems to have little to do with the subtleties of interpretation, meaning, or history. Without accounting for these matters, Martin's arguments are difficult to take quite seriously.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too Dense, Too Defensive
I had high hopes that Michael Martin's book would offer clear and concise description of a non-religious basis for morality, but what I found instead was a densely written, barely readable, defensive-almost-to-the-point-of-paranoia philisophical apology. Hello! Michael! Human morality predates Abraham, not to mention Jesus. Why write as if Christians invented it? If Christians want to claim that any non-God-based moral code is tantamount to relativism by reducing all arguments to the point of absurdity, let them. It's their intellectual cul de sac, and they appear to enjoy living there.

I found the Ideal Observer Theory completely unpersuasive. What is the difference between acting morally because the Ideal Observer would disapprove versus acting morally because God would disapprove? It's a distinction without a difference. Why look for morality in abstract concepts when it is so clearly visible in reality and human history? Thou shalt not murder? Duh! Humanity wouldn't exist if we hadn't figured that one out long ago.

4-0 out of 5 stars Welcome addition to literature on religion & morality
Most of the recent literature on the relationship between religion and morality is written by theists. It is rare to find anything in print by an atheist on *contemporary* moral arguments for God's existence. It is even less common to find an atheist who discusses such arguments without denying moral realism or moral objectivism. Michael Martin's book is a welcome exception to this trend. Martin responds to moral arguments for God's existence *as a moral realist and as a moral objectivist*.

Martin does not just defend atheism against moral apologetics; he goes on the offensive, presenting an affirmative case for an atheistic moral realism. He also makes many interesting points about the idea that Christianity (and not just God in general) is the foundation of ethics, and offers a detailed discussion of the implications of Christianity and naturalism for the meaning of life.

The breadth of the territory covered by Martin is impressive; I know of no other book on the market that covers such a variety of metaethical issues from an atheistic perspective. Anyone interested in the relationship between naturalism, theism, and morality will find Martin's book useful. Moreover, unlike many books on metaethics, Martin's book is not highly technical, which helps to make it accessible to the lay reader.

However, the book does have its limitations. Many nonphilosophers will find Martin's presentation and defense of Ideal Observer Theory counterintuitive and unconvincing. Martin says nothing about the atheistic justification for adopting the moral point of view. And Martin says little or nothing about some of the influential moral arguments advanced by theists. For example, he says nothing about Robert Adams's work on the social nature of obligation and very little about George Mavrodes's argument about the "queerness of morality." In this sense, Martin's discussion is incomplete.

Nevertheless, despite these shortcomings, this book would make a useful addition to the library of anyone interested in the relationship between atheism and morality.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sustained case well argued
Martin undermines the Christian case for morality and meaning in life, and he also shows how an atheistic view can support an ethical theory and a meaningful life.Martin's sustained case for showing how life can have meaning without god, and how objective morality is possible without god, is must reading for both atheists and believers--especially the believers, since they often suffer from the mistaken stereotype that belief in god is a necessary condition for both ethics and meaning in life.

One may, perhaps, fault Martin for not devoting much space to alternative atheistic ethical theories other than the one he develops in the book, but details on those theories are readily available elsewhere, and Martin's book suffers from few other shortcomings. (Although, unfortunately, he does devote some space to refuting the absurd presuppositionalist claims of Bahnsen, a view that is not taken seriously in contemporary ethical theory anyway.But I guess someone has to refute it.)

This book should be on the shelf of anyone interested in the relationship between theism, morality, and meaning in life.

Readable, informative, accurate, and powerful.Buy it. ... Read more

23. Real Face of Atheism, The
by Ravi Zacharias
Paperback: 192 Pages (2004-09-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$5.86
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Asin: 0801065119
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Atheism is a world without God. Its true nature--whether disguised in Eastern mysticism or American cynicism--is despair. In this thought-provoking and witty book, Ravi Zacharias provides Christians a clear apologetic for their faith.Formerly published as A Shattered Visage, The Real Face of Atheism systematically examines atheistic positions on human nature, the meaning of life, morality, the "First Cause," death, and more. With a new introduction and revisions throughout, The Real Face of Atheism is the perfect text for pastors, students, and thinking laypeople who want to improve their apologetic skill and reach out to non-believers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

1-0 out of 5 stars Insulting, foolish
This book is based on a severely false premise - that the root of atheism is despair - and proceeds from there to draw false conclusions based on its false premise. This is insulting to actual atheists, most of whom will tell you that their atheism actually opened up whole new worlds of wonder and joy in the awesomeness of the universe. It is also un-christian, as it is bearing false witness against the real beliefs and lives of atheists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Consequences of Atheism discussed
Although there seem to be several people quite dissatisfied with the book, I found it to be a good compendium containing the logical consequences of atheism.I do however, agree that it seemed to be poorly organized and lacking in an overall smooth, structural flow.But that would really be my only criticism.Otherwise,Ravi speaks on the logical consequences of atheism, quoting many philosophers who embraced such logical conclusions like Nietzsche and Sartre.This book has many of those same ideas written down.In fact, it reads very much like he speaks.If you enjoy his lectures, you are sure to enjoy this book.

The purpose of the book is to discuss the logical consequences of atheism, to develop a logical atheistic worldview.In that sense, it argues a reductio ad absurdum against atheism; that is, that if atheism is taken to its logical conclusions, it is not something that is livable.One thing in particular that I learned was the proper understanding of the so-called "Pascal's wager."Ravi says that Pascal argued that if there is no God, then one must live in away that "works" for them.The atheist does this, of course.But so does the Christian, because Christianity "works" for him, and in the end, both he and the atheist have had a meaningful life (whatever that means).However, if there is a God, then the Christian will have lived a life that "works" eternally but the atheist will have not.That's a real brief summary, but it points out the distinction between how Pascal's Wager is normally understood, and what he was actually saying.It was interesting, if for no other reason than a historical curiosity.

All in all, a short and easy beginning level read, but a good one to start to see the many problems with a logical atheistic worldview.

2-0 out of 5 stars Only "believers" may read this book!
Ravi Zacharias was born in India in 1946 and educated at Cambridge University in Romance literatures. He then moved to Canada, where he eventually switched from a career in business to one dealing with religious matters.

He has a master of divinity degree from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. After earning this degree he founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He rapidly became a popular radio personality and dramatic preacher.

The Real Face of Atheism is a revised and updated version of A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism, which was originally published by Baker Books in 1990 and then later reissued in cloth and paper.

It was the original version of this book with which he began his literary career.

He does not offer a history of atheism or describe its various varieties, nor does he provide an explanation of its social, political, and intellectual roots. He does not set out the arguments employed by atheists.

Instead, he defends the notion that there is a Christian worldview consisting of, among other things, arguments demonstrating the reality of God and hence furnishing the ground of faith. This worldview provides an emotionally satisfying explanation of nature and history, as well as insuring a sense of meaning, which cannot be done without this worldview.

Zacharias thus provides a homily in support of a worldview rather than a carefully set out argument demonstrating the reality of God. This is a book for believers and not for atheists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read, the soul you save may be your own!
The atheist and the grave, now there is a situation where the soul without God is truly conflicted. Ravi has a lifetime of experience combating the dead end philosophies of the "enlightened minds" of our times. Nietzsche is uncovered as the wretched genius he was, dying in an insane asylum of syphilis. The history of influence Darwin had over Marx, Hitler, and Sigmund Freud. Atheism is the murderer of hundreds of millions. Read this book for God's sake.

1-0 out of 5 stars Misses the point entirely
This books is based, from it's bases, on transparently mistaken assumptions, and goes on from there to refute the castle in the air it has just build - tediously, and with glaring logical mistakes to boot.

This is evident even in the synopsis:

"Atheism is a world without God. Its true nature-whether disguised in Eastern mysticism or American cynicism-is despair."

That's an banality, followed by a unfounded a value judgment, with an extreme oversification thrown in for good measure. It simply isnt so.

For one, there are many more types of atheism than "eastern mysticism" and "american cynicism".

For another, an atheist will clearly tell you that it's quite the contrary; the awe and joy of seeing your children grow, orthe wonder of a sunshine are basic human experiences - and they're not improved by wrapping them into dusty theories about vengeful deities brimming with rules that your kids must follow or feathered serpents that cause the sun to rise.Far from it; the sheer joy and beauty of such experiences is dulled and trivialized by filtering them through the lens of whatever crackpot theories you elect to see them through.

The book then goes on from there to claim that unless you filter how you experience life through some rigid set of unlikely theories (whether that happens to be Islam, hare krishna or, in his particular choice, intolerant christianity) there is nothing but angst and despair for you.

The rest of the book follows very much along the same lines, whether it's recycling silly old arguments (the prime unmoved mover and such) or adding the authors own spin on them.

Overall, I'd say the book is entirely worthless, unless you already believe this stuff and yearn for proclamations that anyone who doesnt is having a terrible time and suffering lots.In that case, this is the book for you - otherwise, avoid.


... Read more

24. Atheism in Christianity: The Religion of the Exodus and the Kingdom (Second Edition)
by Ernst Bloch
Paperback: 258 Pages (2009-06-01)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$15.65
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Asin: 1844673944
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Visionary utopian thinker finds the atheist core of the Bible.In the twenty-first century, religion has come under determined attack from secular progressives in documentaries, opinion pieces and international bestsellers. Combative atheists have denounced faiths of every stripe, resulting in a crude intellectual polarization in which religious convictions and heritage must be rejected or accepted wholesale.

In the long unavailable Atheism in Christianity, Ernst Bloch provides a way out from this either/or debate. He examines the origins of Christianity in an attempt to find its social roots, pursuing a detailed study of the Bible and its fascination for 'ordinary and unimportant' people. In the biblical promise of utopia and the scriptures' antagonism to authority, Bloch locates Christianity's appeal to the oppressed. Through a lyrical yet close and nuanced analysis, he explores the tensions within the Bible that promote atheism as a counter to the authoritarian metaphysical theism imposed by clerical exegesis. At the Bible's heart he finds a heretical core and the concealed message that, paradoxically, a good Christian must necessarily be a good atheist.

This new edition includes an introduction by Peter Thompson, the Director of the Centre for Enrst Bloch Studies at the University of Sheffield. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A theology for atheists
Ernst Bloch was a German Marxist philosopher, notable for his reflections on the theme of 'Utopia'. In this book he serves up a meal of one part theology, one part biblical criticism, and one part political philosophy. Not all of these ingredients are of equal quality, but when mixed together in this fashion they produce a memorable and satisfying experience.

Bloch's argument is that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, while proclaiming a belief in an 'On-high' God of sovereignty and control, also contain subversive elements that can express and empower the liberation of oppressed people. He makes use of modern Biblical criticism to distil what he considers to be the valuable stratum of unedited messages in the Old and New Testaments that escaped the censorious hands of the priestly caste, messages of rebellion and freedom. He finds this in the Exodus story, the book of Job, the 'authentic' stories and sayings of Jesus, and the book of Revelation. He believes that the forward-looking, eschatological hope in the Bible should be released from the restrictive cosmological and mythical elements. Then Christians will realise that they were really Marxists all along, and dialectical materialists will be able to reclaim the sense of 'transcensus', the reaching out of the human spirit above itself, which is often lost in 'vulgar Marxism', the atheism that becomes coarse and nihilistic because it is mired in a mechanistic view of the universe.

As a Christian, I enjoyed Bloch's work immensely. He is right to place the centre of Christianity in its eschatology, and to rail against the use of the doctrine of 'God' to imprison people and deny them justice. His theological vision is more attractive to me than that of many Christian groups. And he is deeply knowledgeable about the Biblical text and the methods of modern criticism, and so able to build a thought-provoking exegesis of the passages he treats. However, his theological reasoning is too often one-sided and occasionally incoherent. The trope of blaming the Apostle Paul for all the faults of Christian theology is a very tired one indeed, and there is infinitely more to Christian reflection on the Cross of Christ than just a call for submissiveness to domination. Bloch's disciple Jurgen Moltmann explored these issues in far more depth and nuance. I also found Bloch's choice of 'heroes' in the story of the church strange, particularly his praise of the Gnostic Christian sects, who despised the oppressed, common people in a more thoroughgoing manner than anyone before or since. And reading this book, you would believe that priests in the Temple or Church had done nothing all day every day except oppress the people. While religious institutions are inherently conservative, they often provide frameworks of meaning and hope for generations of oppressed people who do not have the wherewithal to bring in the revolution.

Finally, in his use of the Bible, however interesting, Bloch relies too much on a highly selective use of source criticism to excise (some might say oppress) viewpoints that he finds objectionable. There is a saying that he who goes looking for the true, historical Jesus always finds himself in the end, and Bloch is no exception, though his Jesus is just as attractive and inspiring as Bloch himself. But a little more skepticism about the results of Biblical criticism is in order.

I have criticised this book on several fronts, but as I said earlier, taken together it is a very helpful work. An atheist who takes Christian theology seriously and sympathetically, and looks for reconciliation between believers and unbelievers, is to be commended. I do not believe that the utopia that Bloch hoped for will arise from the dialectic of history, but I do agree that without eschatological hope there is in the end no meaning for the human race.
... Read more

25. When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists
by Chris Hedges
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-03-10)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$1.20
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Asin: 1416570780
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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From the New York Times bestselling author of American Fascists and the NBCC finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning comes this timely and compelling work about new atheists: those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.

Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the new atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.

The new atheists, led by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, do not make moral arguments about religion. Rather, they have created a new form of fundamentalism that attempts to permeate society with ideas about our own moral superiority and the omnipotence of human reason.

I Don't Believe in Atheists critiques the radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges identifies the pillars of the new atheist belief system, revealing that the stringent rules and rigid traditions in place are as strict as those of any religious practice.

Hedges claims that those who have placed blind faith in the morally neutral disciplines of reason and science create idols in their own image -- a sin for either side of the spectrum. He makes an impassioned, intelligent case against religious and secular fundamentalism, which seeks to divide the world into those worthy of moral and intellectual consideration and those who should be condemned, silenced and eradicated. Hedges shatters the new atheists' assault against religion in America, and in doing so, makes way for new, moderate voices to join the debate. This is a book that must be read to understand the state of the battle about faith. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (69)

3-0 out of 5 stars When Atheism Becomes Religion
In When Atheism Becomes Religion, Chris Hedges claims that the New Atheists are mistaken in thinking that human nature is perfectible and that a utopian future is possible in which rationality and science can replace religious thought. He says that we should acknowledge that human nature is intrinsically flawed and can never be perfected. He claims that the New Atheists are blaming religion for the problems in the world and that this can lead to a belief that to rid the world of its problems, and achieve a utopian future, we must rid the world of religion. This way of thinking, he says, has dangerous precedents.

Hedges believes that there is place for religious thought in helping us understand the non-rational aspects of existence; that not everything can be explained by science; that the meaning of human existence is ambiguous and ultimately unknowable.

I'm an atheist and I agree with him. Unfortunately, to make this important point, I think he's attributed opinions to people - Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, Hitchens - that they don't necessarily have. There are parts of the book that appear to be non-sequitur arguments. However, I still think this book is well worth reading. It's the third book of his that I've read; the other two are Empire of Illusion and American Fascists, which I think are both worth five stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars A closet atheist doesn't believe in himself
I liked this book because Hedges' liberal "religion" inspires a concept of atheism that combines rational and non-rational.
Hedges doesn't actually have anything against atheism as such; he likes some atheists like Bertrand Russell.He doesn't make a connection between atheism and his idea of "original sin", which is to believe in the possibility of a better world in the future.But he thinks the New Atheists think this way and rationalize atrocities in the name of this possibility.
Hedges seems to be an atheist himself.He doesn't seem to have any magical beliefs.His idea of faith is that reason doesn't do everything for you, that the non-rational is different from the irrational.He sees value in religious teachings that people are limited and essentially flawed, and probably rightly sees atheism as a temptation to hubris.He grew up as a Presbyterian and seems to have kept some love for religion; and perhaps that's the main difference between him and people who call themselves atheists.To be a Christian, someone must at least believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and that this resurrected being offers eternal life.You have to believe weird things to be a Christian!Hedges isn't a Christian, since he's not even sure that Jesus existed.
Sam Harris, a New Atheist who Hedges criticizes, explores the non-rational through meditation.Sam Harris does understand the problem with scientism, the belief that science is the only important pursuit.
Scientism bothers me; many atheists I've encountered seem to be scientism-ists borrowing the prestige of scientists.
A crazy visionary artist, even if they didn't have magical beliefs, would not feel welcome among the atheists I've known. Someone who defines themself as spiritual without being religious would also not feel welcome.That would be considered a tiresome, meaningless cliche'.
The poet Blake, who saw angels in the trees as a child, would today be medicated with antipsychotic drugs for his entire childhood, unless he had the good fortune to be born to Scientologists or religious fanatics.
And that's a problem.Madness is the flip side of religion.The roots of religion are madpeople who succeed at madness. Religion is respected as a way of knowing the unknowable, but madpeople are not even trusted to know if they're sick or have an ulcer.The religious try to push their reality on everyone else, and madpeople are disbelieved so much they can't speak and be heard.The New Atheists say they want religious belief to be considered ridiculous, but madpeople are already ridiculed.
So I'm afraid the New Atheism signals the rule of the technocrats, where religious vision is "cured" by drugs.
The best thing is not to make religious belief ridiculous, but that it should become one of the arts.Religion tries to be a science, a way of knowing.As the New Atheists extensively point out, it's terrible science!But it might work as an art, enacted in people's own personalities, a creation that illuminates our lives and may give ethical or spiritual inspiration.Originality would good rather than bad in religion.Following an organized religion would be considered plagiarism.A person's religion would be seen as one of their ugly or beautiful attributes, like blue eyes; and not as an aggressive reality-virus.
Hedges does seem to practice faith as an art; something that the person takes part in creating.As a personal creation, choosing the parts of the Bible that you pay attention to isn't some kind of contradiction, as some atheists think it is.Faith not as belief without evidence, but rather a choice to live as if something were true.We all make such choices.I have a faith that truth is better than delusion, both in immediate ways and in some ultimate way.And it really is a faith, I know it could quite well be wrong.
Hedges gave me a sense of what a very liberal interpretation of religion might be.
Hedges thinks the New Atheists believe in a possible utopia.I've never heard a New Atheist claiming that human beings are perfectable, and he doesn't quote any atheist saying this.It would be obvious nonsense to believe this, since our genetic makeup hasn't changed.
In a way, people ARE improvable.We wouldn't any longer be entertained, or stand for, someone being crucified or burned at the stake in front of us.This happened often in the past.And I think that's because people's lives are better now.Life is less violent to us, because of technology.It's far less common for people's children to die; that was a horrible thing that used to routinely happen to people.I think when people routinely have to put up with horrendous things, they feel gratified to see someone else tormented.So you CAN improve how humans act by making life kinder to people.Hedges realizes this, but for some reason he finds it meaningless.And then, he suggests that we could have avoided much hate in the Arab world by being less aggressive after 9/11.He does understand that kindness helps, but somehow being kind with technology doesn't count???
He regards human evil as a mystery and something we can't do anything about.Actually we do understand a lot about how evil happens.Psychology and the social sciences, surely, understand a lot about this.I think a lot of evil comes from wanting to bury the knowledge of death.And from people not wanting to face their buried pain.Political science investigates how to manage human evil.Is it helpful for Hedges to cast this veil of mystification around evil?Or is it just like the obscure mumblings of a priest?
Hedges is rife with contradictions.At one point he characterizes people who were pacifist during the Nazi regime as guilty of his version of original sin - believing in a perfect world.According to him, it was the right thing to kill at that time, it was a "hard choice" that had to be made.And then he has the gall to condemn Sam Harris for his own "hard choices", suggesting that maybe we have to become violent or unethical to prevent terrible harm from Islamic terrorists.Sam Harris is rightly appalled at the possibility of Islamic extremists with mindsets from the Middle Ages or whenever, getting hold of nuclear weapons.Isn't it unfair for Hedges to look at Nazism in hindsight and say it had to be resisted and the pacifists were out of touch with reality - and then condemn Sam Harris for not being pacifist towards Islamic terrorists?And then Hedges calls Jesus a pacifist.Jesus lived under the rule of the Roman Empire.The Romans seem to have been just as bad as the Nazis.Terrorizing their subjects by crucifying a religious leader, and making a spectacle out of his horrible death, is exactly how the Nazis acted - they hung people in public in the concentration camps and left them there as a spectacle to terrorize others.So was Jesus "sinful" by Hedges' definition?Was Judas a better person than Jesus because he believed in armed resistance to the Romans?Hedges says at the end of his book, "Utopian dreamers, lifting up impossible ideals, plunge us into depravity and violence".Isn't this as good a condemnation of Christianity as Christopher Hitchens could dream up?Actually, one of Hitchens' main complaints about Jesus is that his ideals are impossible, his morality inhuman.Maybe Christian atrocities actually have some relation to that?Hedges doesn't address these questions, but is he actually as severe a critic of Christianity as he is of atheism?
I actually agree with Hedges.I don't think you can judge an action by its consequences, because consequences are too subtle for the human mind to judge.People are deeper than they know.For example, the atomic bombings by the US, which Hedges calls morally indefensible, had foreseeable consequences like spurring nuclear proliferation, and subtler consequences:how does it distort our thinking in the US to rationalize a thing like that; how much does it damage humanity's faith in itself?One has to act by principles like "Don't kill" and "People are an end in themselves, not a means", just because we don't know ourselves and the future that well.The best we can do to counter Islamic terrorism is to try to treat Islamic people well.I joked with someone that we should really give the Jewish people a state of their own - like Texas - and tell them to can the idea of locating Israel in the Middle East, since this has apparently been so violent and cruel a process, and a root cause of terrorism.Or maybe New York City could be re-named New Israel and turned into an independent Jewish nation; and rather than supporting Israel, the United States could support New Israel.
If atheism somehow isn't consistent with principles and all an atheist can do is to try to judge consequences, I'd have to agree with the theists that religion is the source of morality.But people like Hitchens and Hedges seem to disprove that.
These very liberal "religious" people who don't actually have any supernatural beliefs act like closet atheists.They bash atheism, and the real purpose may be to distance themselves from a despised identity, just like a repressed gay man trying to prove they aren't that terrible thing, a homosexual.After all, the upbringing of a religious person would usually involved much indoctrination on how bad it is not to be religious.
It's too bad they can't just call themselves atheists, because they would have a lot to contribute to atheist circles, coming from their religious tradition.They could change the things they dislike about atheism from the inside; challenge whatever hubris they see in atheists, etc.
Anyway Hedges seems to live in cognitive dissonance.
You can see why I call this book thought provoking!
Hedges associates atheism with denial of the severe crises humanity is running into, the belief that technology will fix everything.This was startling to me, because I know someone who's an atheist and thinks terrible things are going to happen soon.He's a survivalist, he tries to prepare for the coming collapse of civilization.And he went away disgusted from a local atheist group because he said nobody was interested in the coming crises, all they wanted to do was to have silly anti-religious discussions!Is this because they trust at bottom that the System (science, technology) will take care of them - they have steady jobs and they figure as long as they keep working at their jobs, everything will be OK?Or simply that they're recovering from religious childhoods, and it feels good to snipe at religion?
One of the debates that caused Hedges to write this book is a debate with Sam Harris on Youtube, called "Religion, Politics and the End of the World".It's worth watching, unlike a lot of debates!What Hedges said in that debate to explain Islamic terrorism rang true to me.The atheists blaming terrorism on religion can be a conservative tactic to deny the social conditions of oppressed people.Both are partly right I think, but Hedges has useful education to offer.
Hedges ignores many things about the New Atheism.One huge point that the New Atheists make is that irrational religious beliefs are often damaging.They agree with Hedges in this; he wrote in another book about the dangers of the religious right.
The New Atheists also are a kind of civil rights movement for nonbelievers, encouraging us to stop kowtowing to religious belief, to openly regard silly and irrational religious beliefs as silly and irrational, publicly and in interaction with religious believers.For me, the New Atheism was one of those rare times when a public movement felt personally relevant.I used to have friendships (of a sort) with evangelical Christians - and I remembered how I'd rendered respect to their delusional beliefs about God arranging for checks to arrive just in time; and how inferior I'd felt that they were "saved" and I wasn't - because I was sensible enough not to believe fish-stories about Jesus doing miracles and coming back from the dead!I felt wrong for being the sane one!It wasn't that simple - their beliefs really did do something for them emotionally - but later on I found fellowship with other people based not on shared delusions but on truth.The New Atheists gave clarity to my thoughts:made me realize that the idea of a universe haunted by an omnipotent quasi-human being is very - bizarre - and that seeing patterns in random events borders on psychotic thinking.
So I hope people don't take Hedges' book as an accurate or complete picture of the New Atheism.It's neither, but his perspective is worth reading.

1-0 out of 5 stars ---------------------I Don't Believe In Chris Hedges
--------------On Page 14 of the BOOK "I Don't Believe In Atheists" By Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges says: "We discard the wisdom of sin at our peril.Sin reminds us that all human beings are flawed---"
I say: This is the type methodology used to convince innocent children and fools
they are "inferior beings", thus infusing them with an 'Inferiority Complex' that
can only be ameliorated by receiving forgiveness from some agent of a
mythological entity one must kneel down to, or put one's face in dirt while
pleading forgiveness for being alive!
"Faith" is for fools"!
"Secularists" sometimes called 'Atheists" are 'rational' people who do not believe
in "Santa Klaus" or the "Tooth Fairy" or any other 'fairytale' "Ghostly Apparitions"!
"Faith" is not required to 'Dis-Believe' something!
"Faith" is a tool of charlatans and thieves!
I question the motivation or, sanity of those who promote "Religious belief" in a Mythological Entity!

3-0 out of 5 stars Some Good Points but Flawed
Hedges makes many good points about how the New Athiests such as Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris are wrong in blaming religion as the source of all the worlds problems the danger that their condemnations of Islam, especially Hitchens attacks on Islam, could be used to justify Western imperialism in the Muslim World, just like the Neocons used claims of spreading democracy to justify the invasion of Iraq. Hedges treatment of the enlightenment, especially the French Revolution seems very harsh. Far from being totalitarian, the French Revolution was a great democratic advance, which greatly benefitic Europe and the World and succeeded in destroying a very corrupt government. I don't know why Hedges would condemn the Czarist revolutionaries for using violence when Czarist Russia was a tyrannical regime that supressed all posibilites for peacefult dissent. Mark Twain himself said about the government of the Czars," If Such a Government cannot be overthrown otherwise than by dynamite,then thank God for dynamite!" its also ridiculous to equate Nazism and Communism. The numbers Hedges quotes about the number of deaths under Stalin such as 60 million are completely ridiculous and have no evidence to support them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking.
He makes a persuasive argument that the battle happening in America is NOT between religion and science; it is between religious and secular fundamentalists. ... Read more

26. Christian No More: On Leaving Christianity, Debunking Christianity, And Embracing Atheism And Freethinking
by Jeffrey Mark
Paperback: 284 Pages (2008-08-12)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$11.65
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Asin: 0981631304
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This book is for everyone: Atheists will find excellent arguments to help them defend their positions; Agnostics will appreciate the clarification it brings; Christians who are struggling will find this book a great help in breaking free from their shackles as they learn exactly why there's no possible way Christianity is true and why they don't have to worry ever again.

The Bible says that the world's languages began with the Tower of Babel. Today we know better. But how could the Bible contain stories that aren't true? Author Jeffrey Mark was a devout Christian throughout his life until, during his early 30s, he began studying the Bible more seriously than he ever had. And that's when he made the disturbing realization that so many stories were simply untrue. For him, this realization started with the Tower of Babel. That in turn launched a series of events that eventually led him to abandon his long-held beliefs. Letting go of his beliefs resulted in pain, anger, and distrust towards everyone around him. But slowly he was able to rebuild his life and come to terms with the realities of the world and ultimately find happiness. If you've ever questioned your beliefs, Jeff's story will inspire you. Travel with him through his journey as he explores the deeper truths behind the Bible while discovering science, logic and reason, and ultimately revealing Christianity for what it really is. This is a book that every Christian must read! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars This one is a keeper
This book covers the subject in a different way then many others I have enjoyed.The author goes further back into the pre-Hebrew world to look at the earlier cultures from which they emerged - including an interesting look at myths and legends that predated the stories that made their way into the "old Testament". He also takes a good look at the many offshoots that have sprung off of that body of material and still influence people and events today.

I have been hoping that someone would do this for my own personal knowledge and journey - and I hope he is thinking of writing further on the topic.

His thoughts on all of this are a very clean breath of air and I am only left wondering how such fairy tales managed to stay out of the Fantasy section of the library.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Logic and Reasoning
I think Mr. Marks accomplished his task of sharing with others the hows and whys of his journey from Christianity.A couple of readers were a bit hung up on Jeffrey Mark's biases to such a point that they failed to enjoy the journey. Remember it's "his" journey therefore "his" biases. All writers have biases..subtle or in your face.

Well, Mr. Marks thanks for allowing most readers to appreciate such cogent logic and reasoning.Sadly, reason and logic too often are suppressed in the minds of Christians.It's only when they use their eyes to see, ears to hear and brains to reason that true enlightenment prevails.

2-0 out of 5 stars Stick to the facts
Jeffrey Mark has written an excellent and well researched 200 page book on his journey from believer to non-believer. Unfortunately the book is 267 pages long and contains personal rants, poorly constructed sentences and a political view point that the reader is ironically expected to take on faith. I am an atheist and almost put this book down after the first 100 pages because of just how poorly it was written. I was shocked to see that this was Mark's thirteenth book. In my mind I can see my freshman composition teacher giving the first part of this book an F and writing "wordiness" across the cover. Mr. Mark's, please get a new editor.

I am neither a democrat or republican but I found his on going, unsupported political opinions, presented as fact throughout the book nauseating. For example, on page 227, trying to equate the mid 90's U.S. congress with potentially starving children. On page 229 he said that many Muslim clerics decried the horrific events of 9/11. Please Mr. Mark's direct me to a web page listing the names of those Muslim clerics. I respect that Mr. Mark's has political opinions, but in this forum he almost destroys the point he is trying to make. On the bright side, he has taken material already written in many other books and contructed an understandable argument that may help those taking their first steps towards non belief. I also found his web site listings excellent. This is not a book for the advanced Christian apologist or non believer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Christian No More:A Former Devout Christian Dismantles Christianity
I was brought up as a Christian, but in my early twenties I began to feel that there was too much inconsistency and outright contradiction within the scriptures, doctrine and dogma which was thrust at me at every turn.
From that time forward I have studied the origins and developments of religions...including Judeo-Christianity... in more than a dozen disciplines over nearly fifty years andI am delighted to see that there is a new honesty coming from some of those who, during their lifetimes,have been directly involved in disseminating thedeception created by these (originally) "shaman"-originated fallacies.
Jeffrey Mark has done a good job of presenting some of the facts which demonstrate those fallacies, and there are many more available to anyone who seeks to discover the truth.
If there is a "god"it most certainly does not reside in any of the "beings"to which that name has been attributed in ANY of the writings and doctrines of ANY of the religions which mankind has heard of to this point in our existence, every one of which is man-made from start to finish.

4-0 out of 5 stars Incredible!
This is essential reading for any believer who is having doubts about their faith. The author does an excellent of examining where many core christian ideas originated i.e Satan and hell. The material is presented in a clear and concise format and makes for for very enjoyable reading. The book shows the outright absurdity and illogicality of the beliefs that are held by many christians worldwide. Strongly recommended to believers and non-believers alike! ... Read more

27. The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith
by Peter Hitchens
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2010-05-25)
list price: US$22.99 -- used & new: US$12.46
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Asin: 0310320313
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Here, for the first time, in his new book The Rage Against God, Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, chronicles his personal journey through disbelief into a committed Christian faith. With unflinching openness and intellectual honesty, Hitchens describes the personal loss and philosophical curiosity that led him to burn his Bible at prep school and embrace atheism in its place. From there, he traces his experience as a journalist in Soviet Moscow, and the critical observations that left him with more questions than answers, and more despair than hope for how to live a meaningful life.With first-hand insight into the blurring of the line between politics and the Church, Hitchens reveals the reasons why an honest assessment of Atheism cannot sustain disbelief in God. In the process, he provides hope for all believers who, in the words of T. S. Eliot, may discover 'the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.' ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

3-0 out of 5 stars More Memoir than Apologetic
Part memoir, part apologetic, part indictment against the New Atheism, Peter Hitchens' The Rage Against God is a unique and interesting tale of how atheism ultimately led one man to faith. A tale in three parts, it first dives into the author's history, then addresses three atheistic arguments, and concludes with an indictment against "The League of the Militant Godless." Now many people could write a novel such as this, I'm sure, but few would have either the professional or personal credentials this author has. As a journalist, he has lived and worked in countries where the state religion of atheism affected every detail of life; and in his personal life, he is the brother of infamous antitheist Christopher Hitchens.

Hitchens' own personal history his quite interesting, as he gives us some unique cultural insights into what was going on in Britain during the time of his childhood. His journalistic background helps him trace the history of secularism well, and serves as a warning to a United States fast following Britain's heels.

Hitchens continues his narrative by asking three questions. "Are conflicts in the name of religion conflicts about religion?" Countering the arguments of the antitheist who see religion's existence as a source of conflict, he details that while the answer is sometimes yes, that is not always the case. He concludes that war is ultimately fought as a power struggle for material gain, not spiritual. "Is it possible to determine what is right and what is wrong without God?" Hitchens answers no, positing that an absolute moral code must transcend society and outlining in detail the antitheist's failure to uphold a moral standard. Last question was "Are Atheist states not actually Atheist?" Here Hitchens counters the atheist counterargument that atheist states are really based on religious principles.

In the end, Hitchens' gives us an interesting personal story from a journalist's perspective. Considering that part of the hook was that Christopher Hitchens, a militant antitheist, is Peter's brother, I expected a bit more interplay with Christopher's ideas and writings. The epilogue sort of explains why he shies away from that, and while I certainly respect those reasons, such an avoidance was not the impression I'd gotten from the back cover, which contrasts the two brothers. Overall, this book is most beneficial for its look into the decline of Christianity in Britain in the post-WWII era. - 3.5 stars

4-0 out of 5 stars Fair and exuberantly unfair
The author is seen by me as very fair in his criticism of atheism as associated with his well-known brother, and in his criticism of the general trend toward permissiveness and relative values; I see him as unfair in, somewhat inconsistently, lashing out against some accepted understandings of history, and some policies by conservative leaders.

His objections to contemporary trends are well expressed at the end of the book (pp.213-14), by decrying "the cause of personal liberation, born in the 1960s cultural revolution, and now inflamed into special rage by any suggestion that the sexual urge should be restrained by moral limits or that it should have any necessary connection with procreation. This utopianism relies for human goodness on doctrines of human rights derived from human desires and--like all such codes--full of conflicts between the differing rights of different groups". He attributes this loss of higher standards to atheism, concluding: "The Rage against God is loose and is preparing to strip the remaining altars when it is strong enough."

His attack on conservative leaders has the appearance of wanting to dispute his brother Christopher on every point, even where his brother unexpectedly condones such as the Iraq war. The author, Peter, writes (p.159): "We might cite the Presidency of George W. Bush, which combines noisy religiosity with ruthlessness... Something similar could be said about Britain's Prime Minister Anthony Blair, who was ostentatiously pious while conniving with his intelligence services to manufacture pretexts for aggressive war". This sounds like an utterance by far-left secularists. But I haven't heard even them calling President Bush ruthless or either of the two leaders noisily religious or ostentatiously pious, although their opponents might accuse them of "conniving...to manufacture pretexts for aggressive war". To my knowledge, though, at least in the U.S. both political parties approved of the wars, in the belief it was a necessary response to aggression by enemies.

Maybe still more surprising is Peter Hitchens's reconsideration of historical events, possibly because of a naiveté about happenings before his time. He writes (p.142) about "The Second World War, in which the good side committed dreadful crimes and the bad side worse ones", as if the two sides were almost equivalent. And he writes (pp.66-7): "I had heard of something called "The Blitz", in which German Nazis (they were always Nazis, a special kind of human being deserving of death) had killed our women and children by dropping bombs on their homes" and, "I had no doubt at all that Matt Braddock [a fictionalized RAF pilot] and his fellow pilots were heroic warriors as they unloaded their bombs upon the evil Nazis", and then, "What I did not then grasp, and now do, is exactly what Matt Braddock's bombs did when they reached their targets". This is to mean (p.80) "that the second time [during WWII, after WWI], the mass-murder was inflicted on--and directed against--women and children in their houses. Perhaps worse than the deliberate, scientific killing of civilians was the sad, desperate attempt to pretend to ourselves later that it was right and justified". He also (p.72) speaks of "brilliant Churchillian propaganda", as if like the propaganda of Goebbels.

Churchill's "blood, sweat and tears" can hardly be considered propaganda, and the two sides in World War II can hardly be considered committing equivalently "dreadful crimes". "Blitz" stems from "Blitzkrieg", "lightning war", coined by Germans, and the Nazis were indeed an evil "special kind of human being deserving of death" and against whom the war was fought. It was not fought against Germans per se, although GI's referred to the enemies as "Gerrys". That civilians be killed in war did not begin with WWII, but extends boundlessly back in history. And in WWII civilians were not targeted by the Allies maliciously for its own sake, but indeed because the actions were held, rightly or wrongly, to facilitate speedy victory and save countless more lives. Instead, the Axis had no concern for lives, but thought it an achievement to annihilate as many of the enemies as possible.

Notwithstanding all these disagreements with the book's author, he does a specially good job in countering the "new atheism", his brother's in particular. His return to religion is in this reviewer's eyes fully justified, although he understandably cannot, and doesn't attempt to, demonstrate the existence of the Deity beyond any doubt. Perhaps it is possible to find universally acceptable values without looking to a higher power, but he makes very good arguments for the difficulty, if not impossibility, of doing so.

5-0 out of 5 stars Trouble ahead.
mainstream media is filled with fears about the US becoming a 'Christian theocracy' whenever a politician or pastor dare advocate prayer in school, there are no shortage of secular columnists warning us that 1933 and hitler are just around the corner.

Any look at the elite of the US - and even more so - Uk - know if that unlikely prospect did occur, it certainly is not coming to come from the elite.

Peter Hitchens book clearly articulates the far more likely threat- of which we have example after example- the suppression of Christianity (for this alone, every atheist who reads this will fly into a fit and mark my review 'not helpful').

Hitchens draw parallels between the behavior of the new atheists and the aggressive secular liberalism and the Soviet Union (and as the negative reviews here don't mention, (because they didn't read the book, only a review in the GUardian or something) French revolution.).If the trend continues where does it lead?

For example, RIchard Dawkins, Chris Hitchens and several other prominent atheists have equated parents teaching their children religion with child abuse. If they really believe that what could be the only logical outcome of their beliefs, should they become more widely accepted among the power elite?

In other parts of the book Hitchens offers his insight on the curious alliance of muslims and the left (an alliance, if brought to the successful end of bringing down the west will not have the outcome the left expects) and why the left's 'anti religion' is really 'anti-Christianity' (or Anti-christ, if you prefer) .

in the french republic it was 'liberty, fraternitie, equality' today its 'diversity, tolerance and sensitivity' - the mask has changed, but the objective remains.

Atheists reading this book should actually be rather happy (that is, if they actually read it) because according to Hitchens, the french/bolbhisik revolution - the utopia here on earth movement - has, after near 200 years of resistance, started to break the back of the Anglosphere- given the results of the early efforts the rest of us should not be so jolly.

** one side note- this book's focus is largely on the greater effects of anti-theism on society- rather than a personal journey (as the subtitle of the book implies 'how atheism lead me to faith- but given that Peter Hitchens has spent his life as a journalist that is not surprising. The first chapters,however do deal with his more personal experiences. They arebeautifully written. I do think the US publish should get rid of the subtitle though.

2-0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia and The Soviet Fallacy
Russia seems to have ruined atheism for Peter. Peter writes of the horrors he saw when he lived in Soviet Russia and how despite said horrors, certain atheistic elitists in the West still saw fit to apologize for and defend that country. There are other aspects of his case against the New Atheists, but this is his main argument, and it is one which disappoints for the reason the argument that atheism is inherently linked to Stalinism always fails in debates with New Atheists like Christopher -- atheism isn't a sufficient condition for dictator-worshipping. In fact, Peter is honest enough to include -- near the end of the volume -- a quote from Bertrand Russell about how scared he was of not just religion, but the sort of certainties he'd seen in Russia too. This quote seemed to me to refute Peter's entire case; New Atheists are arguing for exactly the sort of skepticism Russell promoted, not the willy-nilly acceptance of every group which proudly proclaims it is not religious.

I should not be unkind to Peter's arguments by only noting how weak his main one is. I should note that Peter has a stronger attack on the New Atheists for saying religious education is as bad as (and it is implied by Dawkins, probably worse than) the grave and legally actionable sin of child sexual abuse. Even here though, he is not particularly articulate in making his own case, ridiculously comparing homosexuality among the younger generation to child abuse.

A good part of this volume is dedicated to discussing Peter's personal journey. Having almost nothing in common with Peter, I found his narrative to be an emotionally compelling one. He waxes nostalgia about the past while candidly sharing some of his less-glorious moments as a young atheistic Trotskyite. He discusses how he, like so many others of his generation, realized at a young age how the Bible's myths seemed to be based off of myths of other cultures. He never explains how he reconciles that with being a Christian, but he describes his appreciation of old Christian prayers with a devout passion.

Peter converted away from atheism because of what he saw in Russia. He decided that he really like Christianity due to a painting. These are emotional responses, not logical ones. This book is emotionally compelling, but does not manage to logically refute the arguments of the New Atheists. Christopher has surely won this debate.

EDIT: I wrote that Peter "decided that he really [sic] like Christianity due to a painting." What I meant was that the painting led him to think of Christianity as a real system which works; in instilling the fear of God in him, it brought him to think of Christianity as a religion for modern people and thus indirectly brought him to appreciate, and ultimately like, Christianity. I was horribly vague and I apologize; that sentence was a lapse in my review. I am indebted to the commenter JSD for pointing out my error.

4-0 out of 5 stars England Goodbye
One reviewer thought this book would be arguments against atheism. I thought it would be all biographical. Actually, it's both. Part One, "A Personal Journey Through Atheism", is 125 pages of biography. Part Two, "Addressing the Three Failed Arguments of Atheism", is "apologetics" or arguments against atheism. Part Three examines more closely "The League of the Militant Godless", and the Soviet Union's persecution of the church. This last part continues topics touched on in part one, where Hitchens recalls his time as a correspondent for a UK newspaper in the USSR.

Why such an odd structure? Hitchens penned a UK bestseller, "The Abolition of Britain", and this bio in some ways draws on or continues from it. In the epilogue, he muses on a debate with his brother, Chris, in April 2008 in the US. I suspect that some parts of the book germinated at that time. Surprisingly, Hitchens' stint in the USSR bears some similarity to the account of Malcolm Muggeridge, who was also stationed there as a British journalist, in his autobiography, Chronicles of Wasted Time Chronicles of Wasted Time. Hitchens' tone, however, when not ruminative in the biography, is polemical, and clearly he is no stranger to debate. Muggeridge's Chronicles (previously published in two volumes) are a masterpiece of English prose, and rank among the most delightful memoirs of the last century. For that reason his revelations perhaps seem less disturbing.

There is another similarity,too. In part three Hitchens comments on Beatrice Webb's book, Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation? particularly to note the great deal of disinformation about the Soviet state her work provided to the UK reading public. Muggeridge, making the same observation, has also written a biography of Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who were, in their day, leading Fabian Socialists. Hitchens notes that the USSR's government-induced famine was at the time denied by, for instance, the Soviet correspondent for the New York Times. Muggeridge was the only Western reporter who exposed it at the time, and was denounced for so doing.

Hitchens' book is disturbing, even for those who've read the news elsewhere. As goes Britain, so goes the US, one tends to think. And who but Richard Dawkins wants Britain to go that way? To US readers, he appears simply as an elite anxious to take away the simplest freedoms--even of believing--of the masses. To US readers, this looks like more of being shoved around by the British upper classes, but then, we were raised reading Dickens. The third part draws parallels between the Soviet strategy and events in modern day Britain. Providing more evidence of how thin is the veneer of civilisation.

But the biography part, the part I read it for, is engaging and enlightening. If it seems somewhat incomplete, it's because it's reduced to a mere 125 pages. I would think it would take another book to tell it properly, and searching I find there is more Hitchens biography. At any rate, this reader is ready for more of Peter Hitchens. ... Read more

28. Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker
by David Eller
Paperback: 490 Pages (2008-02-01)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$18.99
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Asin: 1578840023
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Atheism Advanced answers many questions, including: Why must Atheists stop 'speaking Christian?' -- not only to prevent religionists from setting the terms of debate but also to prevent them from determining the very thoughts we think? Are there any religions without gods? How are gods created, and are they being manufactured today? Why is science necessarily atheistic? Why must Atheists advance from being simply 'without gods' to being 'Discredists,' thinkers who reject belief-based reasoning altogether? Includes an anthropology of comparative religion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Atheism is not a word that describes the "New Atheist."
One of Eller's main points was that Atheism indicates only a lack of belief in god(s). The larger number of religions are actually non-theistic, such as Buddhism. In fact most religions started out worshiping ancestors. I have met several atheists who believe in ghosts and astrology. Eller tries to coin a better term, discredism, or one who believes in nothing that cannot be substantiated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pushing Naturalism/Atheism to new heights
In this book, Eller refuses to simply rehash the same old perspectives, analyses, and investigations of religions and their attendant concepts.Instead, he seeks to genuinely advance the naturalistic camp, and rather than steal any of his considerable 'thunder', I merely suggest that you read this book, regardless of your preexisting dispositions.And to be quite sure, even if you are a thorough-going naturalist like myself, there is still MUCH to learn and gain from reading this book.

So, by all means, read this masterpiece, although if you haven't already, perhaps read his 'Natural Atheism' first.That said, this book is the REAL feast, so if you only have the time to read one, get this one.

Anyway, just know that Eller's work represents some of the best material regarding naturalism that I've read anywhere, and I've read (literally) several score of books in this field (including works from, among others, Michael Martin, George Smith, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, James A. Haught, S.T. Joshi, Hitchens, Harris, and several more...).

As such, please buy this masterpiece.

a fun-loving, reason-using, knowledge-seeking, science enthusiast.

5-0 out of 5 stars He's right!
One of the most erudite and balanced treatises I have ver read on religion, its origins and lack of validity.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Advance--And Another Possibility
I concur with the eight favorable reviews given thus far. Interestingly, the two negative reviews did not disagree with Dr Eller's arguments, but only with the style. I like both the pungent style of Dawkins or Hitchens, as well as the more academic style of Dennett or Eller. Both approaches are needed.

However, I wonder about the rhetorical effect of saying something like, "I don't know what you mean [in talking about God], and you don't either." The second part of this is true, but I think I know what God-talkers "want" to mean (though they fail), and I think there are several meaningful notions of "God" that are simply different from traditional theological "meanings." Saying "I don't know what you mean" might suggest (especially to theists and maybe to neutrals) some sort of ignorance. Inadvisable?

Rather than abstaining from God-talk, it might be productive to
engage in it, perhaps in such forms as "no genuine God would ever approve of religious fictions." Although I know of no evidence for a "genuine God," it is possible to conceive of such a being without violating the criteria of internal consistency or contradicting observable reality.

I will try both approaches and see which seems to be more effective. Kudos to Dr Eller on this incipient (I hope) classic. I plan to order "Natural Atheism" as well.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ponderous and preachy.
This is the worst New Atheist book I've encountered in ages.There is a definite upward trend in the quality of atheist writing thanks to Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the like.One does not have to agree with what they say to agree that they create lively, well-written prose.I have tried earnestly to read "Advanced" and have found that not only is the turgid language limp and listless, but the paltry ideas that drift within it are simply not worth the effort to sieve them out.There might be some especially patient and scholarly atheists who will find notions to celebrate in this volume, but for the new atheist, the atheist who has left a religious background, and the atheist who prefers to be bouyed along by crisp writing and fresh ideas, other books might better meet your requirements. ... Read more

29. Dictionary Of Atheism, Skepticism, & Humanism
by Bill Cooke
Hardcover: 606 Pages (2005-07-05)
list price: US$75.98 -- used & new: US$38.75
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Asin: 1591022991
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In the tradition of Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, and Joseph McCabe’s Rationalist Encyclopedia, this accessible dictionary addresses the contemporary need for a reference book that succinctly summarizes the key concepts, current terminology, and major contributions of influential thinkers broadly associated with atheism, skepticism, and humanism. In the preface, author Bill Cooke notes that his work is intended "for freethinkers in the broadest sense of the word: people who like to think for themselves and not according to the preplanned routes set by others." This dictionary will serve as a guide for all those people striving to lead fulfilling, morally responsible lives without religious belief.Readers are offered a wide range of concepts, from ancient, well-known notions such as God, free will, and evil to new concepts such as "eupraxsophy." Also included are current "buzzwords" that have some bearing on the freethought worldview such as "metrosexual." The names of many people whose lives or work reflect freethought principles form a major portion of the entries. Finally, a humanist calendar is included, on which events of interest to freethinkers are noted.This unique, accessible, and highly informative work will be a welcome addition to the libraries ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Concise, Thorough, Comprehensive Biographical and Conceptual Dictionary
This book is extremely good.Entries are very readable, and cover all different types of material from biographical data of important freethinkers; history of freethought; philosophical concepts; ideas in sociology, psychology, and political science, and even modern neologisms.

A valuable reference and a just plain fun to pick up at any point and start reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Humanist wit and wisdom
Bill Cooke has written a wonderful and insightful book which is much more than a reference book on humanism, atheism and skepticism. Cooke shows that there is a wealth of humanist insights in different cultures and times. The style of the book is marvellous: funny and witty: 'The ability to talk to oneself without feeling sliiy.' [prayer]. This book can (and should) be read cover to cover. You will learn about many thinkers and activists which are not mentioned in most history and philosophy books (like Robert Green Ingersoll) but who have done more to improve the human condition than most philosophers. In many entries on modern culture Cooke gives his own ideas on humanism and what it means to be a humanist. According to Cooke for example you can't be a humanist and drive in a hummer [check out the entry]. ... Read more

30. Spiritual Atheism
by Steve Antinoff
Paperback: 120 Pages (2010-01-19)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.68
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Asin: 1582435642
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Over the last 160 years, a great dilemma has been hatching out of Western spiritual consciousness. In our modern existence, we have lost faith in the traditional routes by which human beings have come to experience the Divine, and an acceptance of oneself as having a place in the order of the universe. In Spiritual Atheism, Steve Antinoff argues that the dilemma burning within the West has been given its most fundamental expression by Kirilov in Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed: "God is necessary, and so must exist . . . Yet I know that he doesn’t exist, and can’t exist . . . But don't you understand that a man with two such ideas cannot go on living?" According to Antinoff, spiritual atheism begins with three realizations: that our experience of ourselves and our world leaves us ultimately dissatisfied, that our dissatisfaction is intolerable and so must be broken through, and that there is no God. Continuing where such writers as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris left off, Antinoff's unique and prescient take on deity and spirituality makes this book a critical contribution to the understanding of the quest for salvation and enlightenment in a world full of chaos and need.
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars A shameful waste of paper!
I've bought dozens of other books about atheism from Amazon, all of which have been in some way informative, stimulating, thoughtfully provocative or downright entertaining.This book lacks any of those features.The writing consists of what appears to be randomly strung together phrases with a few lucid sentences or paragraphs occasionally making an appearance.As I read it, the style struck me as somewhat familiar.Then it suddenly dawned on me, the style is exactly the same as that produced by a computer program, the Dada Engine, which randomly generates meaningless essays in a postmodernism style.

You can for free generate your own similarly styled random rubbish as this book at: [...]
You might also enjoy reading about the Social Text Affair, where NYU Physics Professor Alan Sokal submitted a randomly strung together hoax article which was accepted by a cultural criticism publication.

By the way, this is my second attempt at writing a review for this book.The first one which I rated at one star was not posted by Amazon, so I have raised the star level to three, although I do not believe this book merits it in any way, but in the hope that this review will make it through the Amazon censors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended Reading
Antinoff's description of the sensation of doubt, consciousness, and the mysterious need for God is both original and compelling.I have found in the reading of this book a renewed appreciation of spiritual practice and it would be my guess that others entangled in the the big questions would feel similarly. I don't claim to be knowledgeable about zen practice or theory, but having practiced some I can say that the overriding state of its practitioner is anxiousness.It is this way with myself and those I have sat with.It is with those I work and live with. For the most part, I and the majority of those I know find ways away from it- for tackling one's own anxiety is as elusive as catching one's own shadow. In any case, I would say this book is a truly honest and incisive display of the fortitude involved with the spiritual practice when faced against what looks like a guaranteed failure.
Whether one believes in God or not, whether one is a layman, artist, or corporate business person, the very real and singular obstacle embedded in one's being is a universally human trait that leaves no person unburdened. It is this 'call to duty' which, I believe, Antinoff makes his strongest case for action despite all logical odds. ... Read more

31. Atheism (A Brief Insight)
by Julian Baggini
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2009-10-06)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.45
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Asin: 1402768826
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Is a life without religion one without values or purpose? Julian Baggini emphatically says no. He sets out to dispel the myths surrounding atheism and to show how it can be both a meaningful and moral choice. He directly confronts the failure of officially atheist states in the twentieth century, and presents an intellectual case for atheism that rests as much on reasoned and positive arguments for its truth as on negative arguments against religion.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding short work
One of the best short works on atheism that I've come across.But beware, the text was previously published as Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions).This edition has new illustrations and is hardcover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very convincing
Makes a strong case for atheism.I was very pleased to see many of the arguments I was already using put in such a clear and convincing fashion.

This morning, I traded my copy to some Jehovah's Witnesses -- I made them promise to read it if I promised to read their copy of the Watchtower and Awake.I've now read both, and found them significantly less convincing than Baggini's _Atheism_.

Perhaps I will write to Baggini and ask if he would put together a shorter version of _Atheism_ and sell it inexpensively, so I could always have a copy on hand for door-to-door missionaries. ... Read more

32. Flirting with Faith: My Spiritual Journey from Atheism to a Faith-Filled Life
by Joan Ball
Paperback: 240 Pages (2010-05-11)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.34
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Asin: 1439149879
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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As a thirty-seven-year-old, highly skeptical, deeply rational woman, Joan had it all: loving family, extravagant home, a high-profile career, even personal contentment. So Joan was more surprised than anyone when she was relieved in an instant from the luxury of spiritual doubt and compelled to realign her life around practices of faith--about which she was a novice. With an unexplainable desire to pursue whatever God had for her at whatever cost was called for, Joan left her high-salary profession, sold her home and all her furniture (with her husband’s support), and started life from a blank slate. Finally realizing that she had been flirting with faith since she was a young teen, Joan fell in love with the God who had been pursuing her.

Joan candidly shares the story of her radical life change as she moved from atheist, to agnostic in addiction recovery, to the unexpected moment when she was “struck” Christian. As Joan lets go of control and convention, her skepticism is gradually replaced with a realization that embracing her new faith with radical abandon led to a far more mysterious and countercultural lifestyle than she’d ever imagined. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great demonstration of how God pursues individuals!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I particularly enjoyed "Andrea's" review above and would encourage you to read it.

Joan's conversion story is a great example of how God pursues individuals as He seeks intimacy and fellowship. In certain cases, like Joan's, such pursuit can be quite dramatic.

On finding her faith, it was fantastic to read how she was filled with a desire for both encounters with God and knowledge, so much so, that she read far and wide in gaining a better understanding of God. I kinda believe we all should do this. I also loved how she described situations where her new relationship with Christ led to changes in the way she thought and acted. Indeed, this is another indication of Christ's love molding Joan more into the person He has created her to be.

The fact Joan didn't limit herself to only backing the one denomination was also greatly encouraging. So, for example, I so appreciated Joan finding a monastery to spend days in silence, in simply being still and communing with God. I've had this upon my heart for a little while now and in reading Joan's story has given me the impetus to seek something with God. Yes, sure we don't all need to go to monastery's to have communion with God but too often many of us limit ourselves by not looking beyond our own denominations.

Congratulations Joan and I hope we get to read the sequel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joan takes this stuff seriously.
Flirting with Faith is the story of a woman who takes God seriously. From the moment God catches her attention, Joan is aiming to go where God leads her, neither whining nor becoming smug about it. I got the sense she was just constantly surprised by what was going on in her new life with God, but that she didn't turn away, no matter how weird it got.

As a person who's very much culturally atheist, I resonated with Joan's experience. I came to faith by a similar route to Joan's, sans attack-of-the-heart. I'd also been a seeker, then an atheist, then a believer in a higher power, an "anything-but-Christianity" spirituality. Unlike the Joan we read about here, though, I have a tendency to put up spiritual walls when I get scared or confused. I don't want to sit quietly and listen. I start doubting. No, not doubting; I wonder what the &#@% could have ever made me think God is real. My sense from Flirting with Faith is that Joan doesn't waver much, and somehow that brings me comfort. If you tend to bounce back to atheism when under stress, maybe it will bring you comfort too.

I recommend Flirting with Faith, especially for one who is astounded to suddenly find herself "a believer." It was definitely a shot of sanity in a world where, often, neither my old atheist world nor my new Christian world seems to make sense.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Breeze of God's Spirit
The most refreshing faith stories are those that confront the complexities of life and unflinchingly face the paradoxes of faith formation.Joan's spiritual experiences, recounted in Flirting with Faith, invites one to journey with her as God gently and at times startingly guides her life and family from a place of self assurance to God assurance.There are no easy "quick fix" answers in her book, but rather an honest recounting of her unfolding journey in faith.I was deeply blessed by her journey and pray God's continuing blessings be upon her and all whoFlirt with Faith.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
This is such a splendid book.I am so happy my first Kindle book turned out to be one I could not stop reading.Ball describes her conversion and her new life in Christ is such a winsome way.I was drawn into her story very quickly and found it captivating.Her story is pretty powerful (conversion was like a heart attack!) and her new life has had plenty of twists and turns, but all of that is seen as part of her being shaped into the likeness of Christ.She's honest and vulnerable, but not sentimental.There is not a wasted word in this excellent book.I am looking forward to more books by her and will recommend this book for years to come.Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm not sure what I believe but I KNOW, I loved this book!
I thoroughly enjoyed this heartfelt and honest story and, like the reviewer above me, my favorite part was the bedroom shoe scene! I didn't just feel like I was a viewing the scene from a reader's perspective but rather I FELT I WAS THERE with her. I think that was the most powerful message I took away from this book, however it wasn't the only passage I marked.

I especially enjoyed the story of the professor, John and I highlighted his quote 'It's not about knowing everything and dispensing wisdom from on high. It is about reaching each student individually, heart to heart. Is about connecting with them as human beings in a way that meets their needs, not your convenience.' How much better off would we all be if we heeded his advice!

I felt that the story and the writing got stronger as the book progressed and you can see that as a first time writer she was really learning and growing as she was writing the book. I appreciated the way she really didn't make the conversion experience itself the focus of the work, but, rather what she did after the event and how she transformed her life and the lives of those around her. She seems to have done this by her example and deep faith without being preachy. In fact, at times it seems that she is about to become arrogant, only to become truly humble in the next moment. You really feel that you are on a special journey with Joan and she has left herself wide open to any and all criticism. I love her honesty, humor and ability to question and laugh at herself but never God. She really shows us that this is not just her special journey but that we all have within us the ability to radically change our lives if we will only give God an ear.

I'm not a holy roller by any stretch, not really claiming any particular religion as my own, and I don't like anyone preaching to me or trying to convert me to their beliefs. Never once does the author do this. In fact it seemed to me that she was very diplomatic when she recounted the events that took place at her church. She didn't point fingers or assign blame to any on person, yet she conveyed her disbelief in the events unfolding with humor rather than anger or hate. She seems to have taken the high road with her writing when she could have been scathing and criticizing.

While this book will definitely appeal to Christians, it's message is more broad and it's story engaging enough on it's own that it could appeal to a much wider audience. Anyone with a faith in a power greater than themselves will find inspiration and hope in Flirting with Faith. I would recommend this book to recovery groups, self-help and spiritual book clubs particularly as there are many points for debate and discussion. I look forward to reading more from Joan Ball. ... Read more

33. Natural Atheism
by David Eller
Paperback: 352 Pages (2004-04)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$11.99
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Asin: 1578849209
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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NATURAL ATHEISM contains an introduction explaining "What is Atheism?" plus 12 chapters and a bibliography. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

4-0 out of 5 stars More like a short course on Reason
This book goes more in-depth on reason itself then most books on atheism that I have read.

Where Richard Dawkins is scientific, Christopher Hitchins shows us of the ills of religion by how it "poisons everything". Sam Harris shows us the folly of unexamined beliefs. But no one discusses at such length reason itself like David Eller. So it fills a gap and I found it very educational. I should caveat that Michael Martin is very exhaustive in his works on the philosophy side of it, but I find his books (though good) a bit dryer and harder to work my way through.

David's book in some areas requires some deep thinking and pondering, so you can't just zip though it. You need to "think" about what he says, so it does require some level of commitment. I didn't really agree with his views on Agnosticism which seemed a bit contrived and goes against how most understand it, but found it rather interesting at least. He attempts to bridge the gap between positive and negative atheism which I think he succeeded successfully.

I am looking forward to David's other book "Atheism Advanced" when I get a chance.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very sound, solid, refreshing, and deep book on Atheism
It is unique among so many atheism books that are popping out into the market nowadays that instead of trying to appeal to the masses, it is based heavily on academic philosophy, nature of logic, and naturalness of atheism without depending too much on natural science or social issues. I almost feel as if I am meditating when I am reading this book.

It is definitely deep, slow-reading, and not too much exciting so I encourage readers to take some time read it slowly, think about what the author is trying to convey because some of the topics get rarely covered by so many popular atheists like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett.

5-0 out of 5 stars Atheism is natural to human existence.
David Eller has revolutionized, and continues to revolutionize, the concept of atheism, by returning it to its natural state of existence.That is, like any other concept or idea within human reality, atheism serves a specific purpose and function within human evolution and cultural thought.Mr. Eller masterfully extrapolates this process, beyond the superficial arguments between atheists and theists.

Indeed he verifies how atheism is as natural (and necessary) for human beings as oxygen is for us to breathe and live.No human being is born believing in, knowing of, of embracing any kind of religion, spiritual system, or higher power.Such ideas, like religion and spiritual beings, are externally inculcated within the mind of the human being, whereas the idea of atheism is there from the very start, by the very absence of these ideas existence.

All of the above is what Mr. Eller shows, but perhaps more importantly he shows the necessity of living an atheistic lifestyle, rather than one through faith or belief.Human beings cannot survive through faith and belief, and progress beyond the limitations of their existence.Only an atheistic lifestyle can do that.I recommend this book for anyone who is teetering between agnosticism and atheism, and additionally for anyone who has an interest in the subject matter regardless of their position.For regardless of the position one takes, all who read this book will be transformed and enhanced in a better way, which ultimately leads toward a more prosperous and fulfilling human existence.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but wordy
I was highly impressed with Eller's thinking throughout the book.He was able to put into words a number of things I had been mulling over, but was unable to adequately express.All Atheists, Agnostics and Theists worth their salt owe this book a careful reading.

The only complaint I could register was that there are just too damn many words, cover to cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Taking Steps Beyond The Heated Debate
This is a great book but I want to focus on one thing this books does at the end that other books on atheism I have read don't seem to do.It seems some people begin reading about atheism based on some negative interaction they had with religion.Of course the author brings out the usual point/counterpoints and presents them in a smart and reasonable way.But after a reader gets past his/her outrage, and sarcasm, and finger-pointing, and mind-opening... what's next?So you don't believe in X, what DO you believe in then?David Eller takes a step towards that.

Are all atheists dry, analyical, snooty, intellectuals who have no humanity or faith in anything?Or are all atheists hippie, human lovers who dance around the maypole and hug strangers on the bus?Neither.Atheists are people like you and I.And the author shows us it is okay to celebrate the great things humans do and decry the awful things humans do.And how there isn't really any need to bypass humanity and nature andattribute good OR bad things to some supernatural force or tradition.Then he wonders aloud about what atheists stand for besides just being anti-religion and pro free-thinking.And where it can all go from there.It is a fairly uplifting presentation that sneaks up on you as you complete the book.One of those "hey, that's right!" kind of moments you won't forget. ... Read more

34. Atheism and Alienation
by Patrick Masterson
 Paperback: Pages

Isbn: 026800496X
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35. Why Atheism?
by George H. Smith
Paperback: 170 Pages (2000-11)
list price: US$19.98 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573922684
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Geroge H. Smith, author of the influential contemporaryclassic ATHEISM: THE CASE AGAINST GOD, continues his defense ofreason, freethought, and personal liberty by answering the age-oldquestion: why atheism?Why would anyone question the existence of asupernatural diety?Smith reviews the historical roots of unbeliefdating back to the ancient Greeks, argues that philosophy can serve asan important alternative to religion, and defends reason as the mostreliable method we humans have for establishing truth and conductingour lives.

WHY ATHEISM? tackles a wide range of subjects, some of which havenever been thoroughly analyzed from an atheistic point of view.Beginning with the problem of atheism's credibility, Smith points outthe various ways in which religious opponents have sought to excludeatheism from serious consideration.He also analyzes a number ofclassical philosophical issues, such as the nature of knowledge andbelief, concluding that modern atheism is largely an unintendedconsequence of the religious diversity brought about by the ProtestantReformation.

Two chapters are devoted to ethics, one focusing on the ethics ofbelief with particular attention given to the views of Thomas Aquinasand John Locke.Other chapters discuss the persecution of religiousdissenters as well as the nature and content of an ethical systemdevoid of belief in God.Smith's characteristic lucidity, analyticalrigor, and piercing wit make WHY ATHEISM? an accessible and enjoyableguide to living a positive life without belief in a supreme being. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

1-0 out of 5 stars shallow
Does not address any of Aquinas' major arguments for God's nature .His infinite nature proceeds from his absolute nature.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for the layperson of Philosophy
I'm somewhat biased, if I hadn't read "Atheism: The Case Against God," I doubt I'd have ever finished this book. The writting in the book is good, I suppose, but it was beyond my grasp.The book for the most part deals heavily with philosophy, and the understanding of most of the philosophy is beyond the reach of Joe Average.

Most of his 'arguments' in the book seem to be an analysis of 17th and 18th philosophers, and applying their arguments towards his ideas about Atheisms contemporary relevance.This is by no means bad, but for people lacking background the reading is incredibly dense, and somewhat uninteresting.

Where he succeeds the most is near the end of the book in a short chapter where he adresses 'silly' issues.He talks about 'silly issues' like whether God himself is an Atheist (he is!) and whether Satan is actually a Christian.His wit in this very short chapter was great, and I wished he'd written more on the topic of strange concepts like that.

Overall, this isn't a bad book, but unlike "Atheism: The Case Against God" This book is much harder to grasp for people not grounded in philosophy, and is more an analysis of philosophers then a refutation of Christianity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not his best work
I raved on and on about Smith's earlier book "Atheism: The Case Against God", so I thought I could not go wrong with reading another from him...

Sadly, I was mistaken.While this book does have its moments (such as the excellent critique of Ayn Rand and the hilarity of the second-to-last chapter), I must say that overall I was disappointed in this book with respect to his original work.I can't quite place my finger on what I didn't like, but at times the book felt repetitious and mundane.

I highly recommend Smith's earlier work, but only mildly recommend this.It will fill out some gaps of knowledge, but only at the expense of a fairly unexciting read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Study of the Place of Atheism in the History of Philosophy
For readers seeking an introduction to the basic ideas of atheism this book is probably not what you are looking for. Instead it is more a history of philosophy and the beliefs of the most important philosophers such as Bacon, Descartes, Kant, Spinoza, Locke and Schopenhauer. George Smith attempts to make the case for atheism by challenging those he disagrees with, such as the theist Descartes who attempted to "prove" the existence of God through his theory of knowledge. Others, like the atheist Schopehauer, he obviously agrees with. All of this is interesting enough, especially for the serious student of philosophy.

But I was hoping to find a more accessible book with more widespread appeal. For me, the case for atheism is simply a matter of common sense. There is no logical reason to believe in the existence of an external, creative diety. Of course, theists always fall back on the concept of faith. But faith in God is a weak argument when a person has no factual support to bolster his claim. For example, I can have faith that the moon is made of green cheese. But just because I believe it doesn't make ittrue or mean that this belief is something other people should take seriously. Darwin's theory of evolution, on the other hand, uses the scientific method, including a large, verifiable fossil record, to prove its case. To say that a person's unsubstantiated belief in God is equal to Darwin's much more verifiable theory of evolution is simply irrational thinking.

Prior to science, people made up mythological stories to explain how the world was created and why we are here. Fortunately, science is now able to explain much of how the natural world functions, how humans and other life forms evolved and even how the universe itself came into being. Of course, this only explains the "how" of existence and not the "why". But, to me, the doctrines of religion are a childish cop out. Instead the truth is that it is ultimately up to each individual to find meaning, purpose and happiness in life. We are now living in the "brave, new world" of secularism. It is our challenge to leave behind the dogmas of religion to create a world of freedom, ethics and community based on reason rather than superstition.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as brilliant as The Case Against God!
As good a writer as Smith is, this book was not half what his "The Case Against God" was. It does not offer the same deep insight as I would have expected. It is funny at times and still slightly imformative, but only by a small margin does it justify the time and effort it takes to read it. Sadly, I have to say, it barely makes the cut of getting a recommendation by me at all!

www.ministerturnsatheist.org ... Read more

36. What Is Atheism?: A Short Introduction
by Douglas E. Krueger
Paperback: 241 Pages (1998-05)
list price: US$21.98 -- used & new: US$8.49
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Asin: 1573922145
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Many questions and concerns arise when believers question the purpose and meaning they suspect is lacking in the lives of nonbelievers. Douglas Krueger contends that atheism is a powerful alternative to religion, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood because people harbor preconceived ideas about atheism. This concise introduction to subject has been designed with the general audience in mind. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Atheism makes more sense
It seems to me that any open-minded person who reads *What Is Atheism?* will at least doubt whether it's reasonable to believe in a god.

Krueger dispassionately responds to questions such as "How can atheists have morals?" and "What's wrong with believing on faith?"The answers are strictly logical, in the sense that they are unemotional and unexciting.But, to me, they are also persuasive that theists should question their religions.

This is not a scholarly work in the sense that it's jam-packed with footnotes and endnotes and citations, a fact Krueger does not deny.Sometimes you have to take his word for certain assertions, but even if it turns out he got some of them wrong, the entirety of the work is still persuasive.

If you are unwilling to doubt your religion, don't take this book seriously.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Absolutely Essential Book for Lovers of the Truth!!!

This book by philosophy teacher Doug Krueger answers eight questions "which are important for an understanding of atheism and representative of the type of questions which are often asked of atheists."Thus this book fills a need for a concise introduction to atheism "which avoids the technical analysis of the professional philosopher yet which sacrifices little accuracy."

To represent the theistic view, Christianity is most often used.Why?Because "in our culture Christianity is the most widespread religion which asserts the existence of God."But the author stresses that what can be said of Christianity "may also be said of other versions of theism, their claims about their gods, and their holy books."

Is the author trying to convert theists?NO.Krueger says this more eloquently:

"I harbor no illusions about the possibility of changing the minds of theists.Most have believed in [G]od since childhood and will [probably] never abandon that belief...it is my hope that this work may free some theists from the intellectual domination born of fear and ignorance and allow [them] to make an informed choice about how they should view their lives and the universe in which they live."

The eight questions posed deal with atheism and atheists (three questions), God's existence (four questions), and faith (one question).

The answers to each of these questions take up an entire chapter.These answers are extremely well laid out with each major point Krueger making having a separate subheading (indicated by a an upper case letter) and explanatory points (indicated by some other character such as a number, lower case letter, etc.) to discuss that major point.The result:this book is very, very easy to read.

For example, here are the subheadings of the answer to the first question "What is Atheism?:"

A. *Atheism may be defined as the view that there are no gods.
1. Theism will be defined as the view that the traditional God exists.
2. There are two definitions of atheism.
a. The atheist does not assert that there are gods.
b. The atheist denies that there are gods.

B. *There are common misconceptions about atheism.
1. People become atheists so they can do whatever they want.
2. An atheist is one who hates God.
3. An atheist is one who worships Satan.
4. Everyone worships something.An atheist must have some god.
5. A person becomes an atheist because of a fight with a priest, pastor, etc.
6. All atheists believe in the same thing, a certain view.

Each chapter ends in most cases with a helpful conclusion.As well there are notes to document the footnotes indicated throughout each chapter.

A brief but excellent conclusion ends the book.At the end of this conclusion is a "Summary of the argument Against Belief in Gods."I found this to be concise, elegant, and logically valid.

Finally, there are two problems I found with this book:

First, even though each chapter is referenced quite well, there are still some assertions that Krueger makes that are not documented.All assertions have to be thoroughly documented especially when dealing with this subject.

Second, this book is not indexed.Even though this book is supposed to be "a short introduction" to atheism, Krueger still presents a wealth of information that I feel should be indexed to make the book more user friendly.

In conclusion, this book presents a concise introduction to atheism, an important and intellectually powerful alternative to the religious outlook so prevalent today.

(first published 1998;preface;acknowledgements;9 chapters;main narrative 220 pages;suggested readings)


4-0 out of 5 stars Logic or Salvation
Krueger's arguments in favor of atheism over theism may play well with atheists. Theists, however, seem more likely to either deny the logic or remain certain that a convincing argument in favor or God will appear.

Desperate longings are not ended by logic.

Atheists need to address, not why God doesn't exist, but how to help theists deal with their desperate longings that do exist. We're all in this together and those longings should be understandable by all of us, even if some of us feel certain that theism doesn't answer them.

An atheist has not just mind but also heart: a heart that can suffer just as much as the heart of a theist. How we manage and why we don't escape into theism is something rich within one's atheism and our common humanity that needs to be communicated to theists. Not that there is an atheist worldview to share but that each atheist has found a way to be in the world without the liabilities of theism. We can exercise our imagination in profound ways, use science wisely, live together without division, and face our mortality without forgetting what we have created and without hurting each other in the name of a fiction.

Needing to be right could be the desperate longing of atheists that takes us off course just as belief takes theists off course. Logic such as Krueger's is important but atheists need also expose their hearts.

5-0 out of 5 stars A response to John Fuller's review below
As a doctoral student in philosophy who has taught the philosophy of religion at two universities, I recommend this book very highly.At the risk of bringing further attention to the comments of an ignoramus, I feel the need to rebut the incompetent review of John Fuller (which can be seen further down).

To begin with, Fuller claims that Krueger uses the Euthyphro dilemma as the "anchor" for the rest of this book.But as anyone who has studied philosophy or read the book knows, this argument is only relevant to the question of the source of morality.Therefore, it cannot be (and is not) related to any chapters in this book after chapter two.Fuller then tries to attack this supposed 'anchor' by saying that it only applies to polytheism.But this is downright false, as any competent philosopher will know and as any good introductory ethics text will explain.

After some petty comments on capitalization (the merit of which anyone reading this can judge for him/herself), Fuller continues with eleven further errors, all conveniently numbered by him:

1.Fuller claims that utilitarianism, Kantianism and virtue ethics all 'fail to describe the concepts of good and bad'.No justification is given for this extraordinary claim (it certainly flies in the face of the general consensus of philosophers), and no alternative definition of these concepts is given.
2.Fuller claims that Krueger makes a confusion between a purpuse IN life and a purpose TO life -- when Krueger's position is that the latter reduces to the former. This objection simply begs the question by assuming life must have an externally mandated purpose, which is just what Krueger is contesting in Chapter 3.
3.Fuller claims that Krueger recommends the admiration of the "racist eugenics-obsessed" Margaret Sanger.Not only is this a distortion of what Krueger says (he claims only that her tireless devotion to her work was a life of purpose), but Sanger was in fact _opposed_ to racism and racist eugenics and attacked racists.While it is true that she did advocate some by my standards unethical measures (advocated more strongly, incidentally, by Christians at the time), these were not connected with racism.Fuller has fallen for a Christian smear job here, and it is not even relevant to Krueger (who again says nothing about admiring Sanger in his very brief mention of her).
4.Fuller claims that Krueger doesn't understand claims about biblical prophecies, and that he ignores counter-evidence (none of which, conveniently, is substantiated by Fuller).The reader should read Krueger's work itself and then judge: this is an entirely unsupported allegation by Fuller.
5.Fuller chides Krueger for following the scholarly consensus that the bible is mostly composed by anonymous sources and is not inerrant.In other words, he would have Krueger reject the opinions of the most serious scholars in the field over the past century in favor of -- whom?The "acknowledged master in the field", F. F. Bruce, who is certainly not acknowledged by mainstream historians as any sort of authority at all.For a good debunking of Bruce and his tactics, see Chapter 5 of Robert Price's 'Beyond Born Again'.
6.Fuller accuses Krueger of 'trotting out all the cliched objections about biblical errancy'.True -- they are cliched at this point because they have had to be repeated over and over again to Christian apologists who can't overcome them but continue undaunted anyway.Wonderful what faith can do.
7.Fuller claims that Krueger's objections to the design argument beg the question.But he doesn't explain why, and it isn't clear he understands what 'begging the question' even means.
8.Fuller objects to Krueger's treatment of the cosmological argument because it misunderstands the implications of the divine character, but doesn't say just why.Surely, any attribute of a divine character would have to be quite remarkable if it actually could explain the origin of the universe without itself demanding an explanation by the same logic.Fuller calls Krueger's attempts to prove that an infinite regress is possible 'laughable', without seeming to notice that the whole laughable business was raised by Aquinas, to which Krueger is merely responding.At any rate, it isn't germane to the objection Krueger is making, and if Fuller had taken the time to read that section at all carefully he would have noticed that the cosmological argument is demolished anyway.
9.Fuller claims that Krueger is wrong not to mention the theodicy of Alvin Plantinga, which Fuller claims is "generally accepted by philosophers as conclusive in favor of theism".Not only does Plantinga's defense do no such thing (the standard refutation of this rather silly theodicy can be found in J. L. Mackie's classic work _The Miracle of Theism_), and not only do the great majority of philosophers consider Plantinga's defense to be bogus, but even if it were successful, it doesn't even claims to present an argument for theism, as Fuller claims.This seems to show Fuller's familiarity with the scholarship in the relevant fields.
10.Fuller, apparently finding no way to respond to the powerful argument from nonbelief, dismisses it as 'absurd', despite its logical force.Presumably this is in contrast with the claims of Christianity, which are far more absurd and have no logical force.
11.Fuller's last point also makes a serious mistake.He claims that Krueger is attacking a straw man by mis-defining faith.But contrary to what Fuller says, there _are_ many Christians who define 'believing on faith' as 'believing in the absence of strong reasons'.As for those who use 'faith' to mean 'belief with fairly strong supporting reasons but in the absence of absolute geometrical proof', the rest of the book was already devoted to their refutation.

Most telling, perhaps, is Fuller's warning that Krueger's book "should not be approached by those with inadequate knowledge".What exactly is he afraid of?I would say, by contrast, that people should read Krueger's book _and_ the opposing books.That way they will be able to compare for themselves the preposterous claims of Christianity with their simple refutations.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why Christianity is wrong
This book is not really an introduction to atheism, but rather an introduction to what is wrong with Christianity, ignoring other variants of theism. This book is not useful as an introduction to atheism, but should rather be used as a reference when debating Christian fundamentalists.

Unfortunately, the book is full of assumptions with no references (such as the declaration that most of the books in the New Testament are *known* (emphasis his) to be forgeries. Though I honestly think he is right about that, he doesn't give any reference to the claim so it is impossible for the reader to find out if it is true. When claims such as these are not backed up by evidence they can't be used in a debate and therefore, no matter how good, the arguments presented by Krueger can hardly be used in a debate.

I fear that the author's hostility to Christianity may scare christians off from reading the book, which makes them unable to grasp the arguments. (Some of the references below confirm this apprehension). From the first to the second paragraph Krueger openly admits this hostility to Christianity.

However, the book replies to many of the most common arguments from Christian Fundamentalists aganist atheism, and this makes it very useful. It is almost impossible to enter a debate forum about religion on the Internet without encountering arguments such as those Krueger rejects. Hence, this book is a goldmine for any atheist who needs a quick reference to why these arguments fail.

I fear that many atheists will say this review is not useful only because I'm critical to Krueger. Please understand that I think this book is great reading. It gave me many arguments that I will use in debates on the Internet, and I will surely use the book as a reference. I just wish that he would not be so militant. Christians will denounce the arguments because of the hostility against them expressed in this book; and no matter how useful in debates, this book fails to give a good understanding of atheism. The impression will be that atheism is really about hostility to Christianity, and that is not a very good introduction to atheism.

If it wasn't for the dogmatic language, I would have given this book five stars. I also think the title is a little bit misleading. It should rather be "What is Wrong With Christianity? A Short Introduction". ... Read more

37. The Logic of Atheism, 3 Lectures
by Henry Batchelor
Paperback: 110 Pages (2010-03-29)
list price: US$18.49 -- used & new: US$18.48
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Asin: 1150957603
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The book has no illustrations or index. It may have numerous typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from the publisher's website (GeneralBooksClub.com). You can also preview excerpts of the book there. Purchasers are also entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Publication date: 1858; Subjects: Atheism; Theism; ... Read more

38. Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism
Paperback: 354 Pages (1989-12)
list price: US$30.98 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 0879752564
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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This anthology fills a conspicuous gap in the discussion of religion and theism. The issues that theology addresses, the meaning of life, the existence of God, the truth of the Bible, the possibility of life after death, are so important to people that they ought to examine both sides of these fundamental questions. The atheist and rationalist writings collected here are virtually impossible to obtain anywhere else, even in large university library collections. This material chronicles the contributions of many distinguished thinkers who have carefully investigated key issues in religion and philosophy, but have arrived at remarkably different conclusions from those of the clergy or media. We should not neglect this long and rich history or ignore the insights rooted in the freethough tradition."An Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism", a thorough introduction to the writings of the world's most famous freethinkers, will lead intellectually curious and intelligent people of all religious persuasions to an increased appreciation of the scope and limitations of their own opinions and attitudes on these important issues, including the existence of God, the definition of atheism and rationalism, the possibility of Divine Revelation, the existence of the Devil, and the real history/contribution of atheism to intellectual thought. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Gordon Stein hits you from all angles
Mr. Gordon has drawn from every direction of rational and atheistic thought. To most the reading may appear dry, but it will always challenge your belief system. I found the book to be based upon fact and rationalthought and as close to the emperical truth as one can come. Anyoneinterested in understanding rational thought should read this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid Presentation of Great Works
Dr. Stein has assembled a fine collection of atheist and rationalist essays.For the most part they are unique and adequately prefaced.This collection provides a very complete anthology of rare and well known essaysfrom famous authors such as Bertrand Russell and Voltaire, as well aslesser known authors.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dr. Gordon Stein continues to rationalize the impossible.
Dr. Stein since the day he debated Dr. Greg Bahnsen has stated that Atheism is true because other men have defined atheism as true at the outset of their discussions as well.What he continually fails to recognize however, is that ahteists and christians alike are all governed by their presuppositions.Dr.Stein continues in this book to prove the impossibility to the contrary.He denies his belief in a God and somehow convinces himself that what he asserts as truthful in his rationalizations are true because of linguistic conventions.Dr.Stein wants to use the laws of logic, laws of morality and science however, his worldview is at odds with both human freedom and dignity.In his attempt to show that the atheist position is truly rational he once again displays to the world that the proof of the Christian God states that without Him you cannot prove anything at all.Dr. Stein's problem like most atheists is that they would rather determine that they are god.They suppress the truth in unrighteousness and convince themselves that there is no God.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dr. Gordon Stein continues to rationalize the impossible.
Dr. Stein since the day he debated Dr. Greg Bahnsen has stated that Atheism is true because other men have defined atheism as true at the outset of their discussions as well.What he continually fails to recognize however, is that ahteists and christians alike are all governed by their presuppositions.Dr.Stein continues in this book to prove the impossibility to the contrary.He denies his belief in a God and somehow convinces himself that what he asserts as truthful in his rationalizations are true because of linguistic conventions.Dr.Stein wants to use the laws of logic, laws of morality and science however, his worldview is at odds with both human freedom and dignity.In his attempt to show that the atheist position is truly rational he once again displays to the world that the proof of the Christian God states that without Him you cannot prove anything at all.Dr. Stein's problem like most atheists is that they would rather determine that they are god.They suppress the truth in unrighteousness and convince themselves that there is no God.

2-0 out of 5 stars Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism
Gordon Stein states that he had two goals in compiling his _Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism_: (1) getting hard-to-find historical atheist and rationalist materials in print, and (2) selecting 'the best written, most concise, cleverest, or more representative' essays on atheism and rationalism.Now certainly (1) and (2) are laudable goals;preserving historical freethought writings is important.Yet it is clear from his comments that Stein not only wants to preserve these historical writings in print, he wants to promote them on par with contemporary writings even when these historical writings wear their date on their face.And his introductions often miss the mark, by refuting simplistic versions of theistic arguments (e.g., the first cause argument instead of the kalam cosmological argument), failing to interact with contemporary scholarship on the issues he addresses (e.g., his suggestion that Tacitus' reference to Jesus is an interpolation),and abusing methodology (e.g., quoting self-described 'atheists' while attempting to define atheism).Stein's book might be of interest to freethought historians and bibliographers, but considered as a book in the philosophy of religion it is very disappointing. ... Read more

39. After Atheism: Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life
by Mark Vernon
Paperback: 216 Pages (2008-01-15)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$14.47
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Asin: 0230013422
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The broadside against religion launched by a new breed of evangelical atheists has generated much heat but little light. Locked in battle against their Christian opponents the argument goes nowhere fast, and in an age of extremism, nurtures the dangerous vice of intolerance. Mark Vernon was an Anglican priest, left a conviction atheist, but now finds himself to be a committed and increasingly passionate agnostic. Part personal story, part philosophical search, After Atheism argues that the contemporary lust for certainty is demeaning of our humanity. The key to wisdom - as Socrates, the great theologians and the best scientists know - is understanding the limits of our knowledge.
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking and Helpful
I suspect both committed agnostics who lean toward atheism, and committed christians will find this book annoying. Vernon has been both. For me, I found it very helpful on my journey. Readable, full of insights I hadn't come across, and great quotes, eg

"He who reverently pursues the Boundless, even though he will never attain it, will himself advance by pushing forward in his pursuit" - St Hilary

He draws on philosophy of science for his chapters in this area, which may be challenging for rationalists who haven't come across this well-founded discipline. Mark Vernon has a PhD in philosophy, and deals well with various thinkers, for example there's a full chapter on "Following Socrates". He uses a light touch, and educated readers who aren't familiar with some lesser-known philosophers won't find it too difficult.He concludes with a very practical and winsome chapter on "How to be an agnostic".

Some may simply dismiss him as a "woolly liberal", but I think this would be premature and unfair.Engaging with his thoughts may allow for the discomfort of agnosticism to be a valid and solid third way. This book won't be completely satisfying to everyone, but simply for its novelty, thoughtfulness and realness this earns five stars from me. ... Read more

40. The New Gospel of Christian Atheism
by Thomas J. J. Altizer
Paperback: 170 Pages (2003-03-07)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
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Asin: 1888570652
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Thomas J.J. Altizer's The New Gospel of Christian Atheism is a largely rewritten version of his earlier classic and controversial book on this subject, which was a major contribution to twentieth century American theology. This revised and updated version is set forth in prose that is at once lucid and bold, and gives us nothing less than a new vision for the postmodern era in original and unforgettable terms. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Somebody somewhere is smart enough to know what to make of this book
This may be a postmodern tour de force. Or it may be nonsense. It may have made me think but I don't know what it has made me think.

Paul, John, Augustine, Luther, Blake, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Hegel, Joyce, and so on. Incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, apocalypse, all given a new spin. But where?

What do you do with a book like this? Has it raised too many questions and perhaps answered none? Can you recognize Christianity in its pages? Has Altizer somehow found a bewildering wayto bring the revolutionary Jesus to life?

Did you think you might be comforted? Did you think you might find the way to Rome?

What have they done to Jesus, the orthodox, the Gnostics, the logical philosphers and the pleasant storytellers? Can you consider the crucifixion afresh, can you look back again on the history of the West, without being shocked?

This is not a simple book but neither is it postmodern play. There's are real challenges in these pages. Working within theologizing, Altizer is out to shove you to take up some cross and go some where for someones' sake. And several millenia will be on your back. And you will feel it.

In the "Politics of Experience", the great psychiatrist R.D. Laing wrote: "If I could turn you on, if I could drive you out of your wretched mind, if I could tell you, I would let you know." Altizer may have done just this for those of us who have become at all settled in their beliefs.

If you don't want to be challenged, hurry back to your church and Bible study group, before you begin to feel Altizer's pull. This is not a book Ican follow in one reading. I haven't understood what all this would mean for my daily life, but Western intellectual history may never be the same.

06/16/07: I just read Altizer's Living the Death of God: A Theological Memoir. I don't doubt that his writing is provocative and would make for a healthy challenge for orthodox Christians, but I'm more concerned now that he may enjoy the kind of wordplay "postmodern" writers seem to fall victim to. I'm also not clear from this book that he understands Gnostic Christianity (or Buddhism, although I am sure he must and has written elsewhere about these) although he does seem to acknowledge some power of Gnostic Christianity. But, as most often, it seems impossible to be clear just what he is saying. ... Read more

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