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1. The Necessity of Atheism
2. Theism or Atheism - The Great
3. The New Atheism: Taking a Stand
4. Atheism Among the People
5. Modern Atheism Under Its Forms
6. From Atheism to Catholicism: How
7. God and the New Atheism: A Critical
8. Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling
9. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism
10. The Heavenly Father - Lectures
11. Atheism: The Case Against God
12. Atheism Explained: From Folly
13. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
14. An Apology for Atheism Addressed
15. The Godless Delusion: A Catholic
16. Atheism, Morality, and Meaning
17. Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts
18. Atheism: A Reader
19. Real Face of Atheism, The
20. When Atheism Becomes Religion:

1. The Necessity of Atheism
by David Marshall Brooks
Paperback: 162 Pages (2010-03-07)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$22.45
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Asin: 1153752611
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Atheism; Religion and science; Religion / Atheism; Religion / Religion ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars No Such Thing.
I can understand being opposed to "religion" but I can't imagine believing and trying to make others believe that the world would be a better place if we all stopped believing in God! Religion is actually man's interpretation of God's word and that interpretation can be very oppressing. Man is fallible, God is not. Without "right and wrong" being set before us by God, this world would be a mess. I am not sure how believing that we have an ultimate Creator who loves us so much, is so bad. I would rather live my life believing there is a God who loves me and whom I will spend eternity with, and find out some day there isn't, than to live as if He does not exist and then find out too late that He does.

3-0 out of 5 stars reat ideas and excellent arguments...
This was a great read. It was much easier to understand than Nietzsche's works, but the message was still just as deep.
I've seen with my own eyes how religion can hold people back, so I completely understand the need to throw off its chains.
This book was full of great ideas and excellent arguments. I would recommend it to anyone, especially my uber-religious family who could really benefit from it. I thought it was very well written and convincing. It's a wonderful blueprint for building a better world.

5-0 out of 5 stars I strongly recommend this book!
I believe this book should be on every intellectual's shelf. It's very well written and makes a solid case for dispensing with outdated religious notions if we are ever to advance to the levels we were meant to achieve. Humanity has spent far too long hobbling on the crutch of religion. Dr. Brooks asks us to cast that crutch aside and run free, and his arguments for doing so are most convincing.

Religion has bridled too many minds and bound too many hands. How much longer will humanity remain crippled by it? How much longer will we continue to point fingers at others, harm each other, and limit ourselves in the name of a god?

This is the 21st century. We're only just beginning to see the wonders we can achieve (and might have achieved ages ago if religious leaders hadn't kept insisting that the world was flat and viciously persecuting anyone who decreed otherwise). I think Dr. Brook's message is more timely than ever now that we've begun to open our minds and see what we can accomplish via our newfound reliance on science, reason, and sheer human will.

I strongly recommend this book. It's a wonderful classic, very thought provoking and optimistic. The material is presented very well, and I believe that Dr. Brook's vision of a better world is now finally within our reach.

5-0 out of 5 stars If only more would heed his advice!
I picked up this book last week on the recommendation of a friend and found it to be an easy and enjoyable read. I think Dr. Brooks did an excellent job of presenting his case. Unlike other atheistic works I've read, Dr. Brooks does not concentrate solely on Christianity. He critiques other religions as well.
I agree with his premise that religion has greatly hampered the advancement of humanity and caused a great deal of suffering, privation, and death. It also kept women oppressed for millennia, and we are still working to undo that damage. It's only been in the past century that great strides have been made to improve the lot of women, and I believe that religion has been the main culprit to blame for the inequities that women have faced for so long.
Dr. Brooks makes some very good points regarding the illogic and inconsistencies of religion and the misery that it has foisted upon humanity. He envisions a better world, one without religion holding back humanity's advancement, and makes a very good case for why we should strive for such a world.
Of all the divisive factors, religion has been the main and most persistent one. Dr. Brooks implores us to throw antiquated beliefs aside and forge ahead to build a better world for ourselves. If only more would heed his advice.

5-0 out of 5 stars I liked it better than the first guy...
I thought it was very well written and expressed many instances which I had never thought of. Before this I had read Nietzsche's Antichrist and compared to that book, The Necessity of Atheism was much easier to understand to me. ... Read more

2. Theism or Atheism - The Great Alternative
by Chapman Cohen
Paperback: 108 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: B0040V5488
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Theism or Atheism - The Great Alternative is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Chapman Cohen is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Chapman Cohen then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

3. The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason
by Victor J. Stenger
Paperback: 282 Pages (2009-09-22)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$10.30
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Asin: 1591027519
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In recent years a number of bestselling books have forcefully argued that belief in God can no longer be defended on rational or empirical grounds, and that the scientific worldview has rendered obsolete the traditional beliefs held by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The authors of these books--Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor J. Stenger--have come to be known as the "New Atheists." Predictably, their works have been controversial and attracted a good deal of critical reaction.

In this new book, Victor J. Stenger, whose God: The Failed Hypothesis was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007, reviews and expands upon the principles of New Atheism and answers many of its critics. He demonstrates in detail that naturalism--the view that all of reality is reducible to matter and nothing else--is sufficient to explain everything we observe in the universe, from the most distant galaxies to the inner workings of the brain that result in the phenomenon of mind.

Stenger disputes the claim of many critics that the question of whether God exists is beyond the ken of science. On the contrary, he argues that absence of evidence for God is, indeed, evidence of absence when the evidence should be there and is not.

Turning from scientific to historical evidence, Stenger then points out the many examples of evil perpetrated in the name of religion. He also notes that the Bible, which is still taken to be divine revelation by millions, fails as a basis for morality and is unable to account for the problem of unnecessary suffering throughout the world.

Finally, he discusses the teachings of ancient nontheist sages such as Buddha, Lao Tzu, and Confucius, whose guidelines for coping with the problems of life and death did not depend upon a supernatural metaphysics. Stenger argues that this "way of nature" is far superior to the traditional supernatural monotheisms, which history shows can lead to a host of evils.

The New Atheism is a well-argued defense of the atheist position and a strong rebuttal of its critics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars "The New Atheism" is Relevant and Essential
I am a recent convert to atheism (I actually prefer the term 'naturalism') after many years of doubt and 'fence-sitting' and I have read all of the popular (and unpopular) books on the subject of "is there or is there not a god," and I have to say that Victor J. Stenger has summed it all up for me. Even the subtitle offers the succinct declaration: "Taking a Stand for Science and Reason."

An interesting statistic that Stenger provides, which comes from Adherents.com, is "Major Religions of the World, Ranked by Adherents," which shows the top three as: Christianity = 2.1 billion (33%), Islam = 1.5 billion (21%), and Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist = 1.1 billion (16%).

What is humorous about this list is the four names used to describe those of us who are naturalists. And that is probably a big reason why the third largest 'religious' group is not as strong a voice for science and reason as it should be, given its ranking in the world.

Stenger's book is a valuable resource for naturalists to reference and begin to stand up for science and reason, which is being attacked more and more by the religious right-wing extremists who believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old and who are 'hell-bent' to make the U.S.A. a Christian nation.

A line from the closing paragraph of the Preface says it best:

"We ask other atheists and agnostics to join us in taking a harder line against the follies and atrocities of religion produced by its irrational thinking." p. 17.

3-0 out of 5 stars The New Atheism is just another religion
I have no complaints about the book as such, It is a very good overview of the current thinking in this area, and provides lots of quotes from other "new and old" atheists. It provides some strong evidence to embrace atheism, even ennobling the philosophy with calls to service in its name. It even provides, to my surprise, critiques of the movement from a few Godly authors,

My concern is that he paints with too broad a brush. He trots out the old arguments against Christianity: -the Inquisition, the Crusades, Hitler went to church, etc. as if this was new stuff and the Christian church has not condemned it all over the years. I find it interesting that he gives grudging approval to Eastern religions (those that make few demands on their adherents) as having some value to humankind but says about monotheism that "Science flies us to the moon, Religion flies us into buildings".

The Christian faith is distinct from both Judaism and Islam but I don't have the time to build a case for it here. Suffice it to say that Christian ministry has a long and noble history of compassion. For every misguided Christian that carries a sign saying "God hates queers" or murders an abortion doctor,there are a hundred more not only condemning these aberrations but are quietly serving in AIDS hospice care, drug abuse rehab,STD prevention, anti-slavery initiatives, inner-city education, medical missions, employment counseling, racial reconciliation, etc.

The list is almost endless, all motivated by a Biblical understanding that people who are created in the image of God matter, and all conveniently ignored by Stenger as he makes his case against God.He also fails to accuratelyread the crystal ball in those "successful, well-adjusted" atheistic societies of northerm Europe. I contend that Atheism is a dead end. It provides no real hope for the future and these european parents are voting with me via their DNA. For the most part, their birth rates are already below 0.8, the minimum necessary to survive as a people group.Their cultures are doomed, not by God but by low fertility. You need to be optimistic about the future to want to have kids.

My take away message is that The New Atheism is really a powerful new religion, in many ways similar to Christianity. It is ultimately a faith model, although it incorporates many scientific principles. It has, for example:

1.Dead Saints (Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan, Frederick Nietsche)
2.Teachers of the Law and Scribes (Dembski, , Stenger, Harris)
3.Evangelists (Hithchens and Dawkins)
4.Sacred Scrolls (Origin of the species, Lyell's Geologic Column, The Cosmos )
5.Articles of Faith (dogma) =e.g., God does not exist, there is only nothingness after death, there is no"Intelligent Design" even if stuff looks designed, Evolution is a fact even though we have no observed evidence of one species ever changing into another.
6.Even has a "god" = Scientific Naturalism which can explain not only all the intricacies ofthe universe but can be used to dismiss all other gods.

This type of thinking is a natural outcome of deciding a priori that the "cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, all there will ever be"(Sagan). The Bible teaches clearly that God is NOT part of his creation but outside of it, and using created things like scientific experimentation and design will never be able to "prove the hyporthesis".He is "outside the box" as Del Tackett likes to say. The new atheists are like ants, looking around their ant hill for humans, using the tools they have at their disposal and concluding that we don't exist.
The insect analogy is not original with me, but God says in His word:

[God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. (Isaiah 40.22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Giving five stars on the basis of web essays by Stenger, only
I am giving Stenger a 5-star rating, based not on the book (which I have not read, but obviously will) but on the essays of his that I've found on the web.I will give a review of the book later.

My point is that science and religion address two different subjects.

Religion addresses the inner need of insecure persons to know that "God" has a Plan, and that they -- yup -- are "in" on it and a doing His Will by following this or that creed (various versions of Christianity, various versions of Islam, etc.) as outlined in some purported "holy book".

Science addresses the inner need of intelligent persons to know actual FACTS about the universe, even if . . . the answer to various questions (as yet) is:"No one really knows."

That Stenger attacks the pretensions of religion (i.e., pretending to give accurate information about actual facts about the universe) is welcome.He is addressing matters of science, not preaching religion.He is, rather, pointing out the obvious (and embarrassing) shortcomings of religion when it gets out of its proper sphere . . . of trying to keep people controlled and taking their money.

There really is no conflict between science and religion, just as there is no real conflict between French and Algebra:they are two entirely different subjects.

. . . And the two should never be mixed, IMHO.Mixing science and religion is like mixing ice cream and horse dung . . . it doesn't do too much to the horse dung, but it REALLY MESSES UP THE ICE CREAM.

4-0 out of 5 stars Culture of strife
I'd say overall Professor Stenger did a thorough and great job on reviewing and preaching for the new atheism movement. As an outsider, it's enlightening for me to observe the culture war between believers and non-believers in the US. In the end, both sides are true believers in either God or science (the new god), just as many scholars pointed out. Both sides I'd say are the true representatives of the great spirit of Jesus Christ - to change the world with his unquestionable faith. It's really the western psyche inherited from the intelligent ancient Greeks and unyielding Christianity. Both sides are the same in nature.

In his conclusion Professor Stenger mentioned atheism can never compete with religion for the promise of eternal life, neither can any philosophy or secular culture. However, the ancient Chinese philosophy offers an imperfect alternative, certainly incomparable with heaven where street is laid with gold so long as you believe. The Chinese achieve their 'eternal life' simply through their production of offspring. The sons and daughters are generated with father's jing (spirit and yes sperm) and mother's blood. You live in your sons and daughters and their sons and daughters forever. That is why when the Chinese say 'There are three acts of impiety, no offspring comes first.' Compared with heaven with no supporting evidence, this is both spiritual and material because it's supported by modern science - DNA genetics.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lame Cashing In On "New Atheism"
There are a lot of excellent books published in the past few years making the case for atheism. This is not one of them.

Rather, this seems like a lame attempt to cash in on the "new atheism" trend by slapping that title on a book that is disjointed, rambling and occasionally reads like some sort of exercising in atheist diary keeping.

The essays in the book have little cohesiveness or theme between them. They are almost random observations of an atheist with little to tie them together. The author has a tendency to drop his own speculative theories about physics questions (such as the beginning or lack thereof of the universe) which are extremely difficult for non-experts to evaluate.

The author also has the habit of writing things like, in a brief piece on Taoism, reporting that he listened to an audiobook on Taoism by Wayne Dyer. Or in other instances we learn what the author listened to on his iPod. I realize he's trying to delineate what exposure he's had to these ideas he's discussing, but adding Dyer as a source is not reassuring.

The essays themselves are all over the place. A chapter on religious intolerance starts with an account of a recent series of murders committed by a Mormon fanatic to an unconvincing argument about why atheism qua atheism can't be held responsible for Stalin's crimes (not that I think it should be, but Stenger's argument here is particularly unconvincing) to a brief history of the Mormons to a brief overview of recent acts of violence by religious terrorists of all stripes. Much of the writing seems like the book would have been better described as "The New Atheist/ADHD Nexus". Doesn't Prometheus have editors??

This book seems like it was rushed to market to capitalize on the "new atheist" phenomenon, but isn't in the same class as books by Dawkins, Loftus, Hitchens and others.
... Read more

4. Atheism Among the People
by Alphonse de Lamartine
Paperback: 32 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: B003YMNN7S
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Atheism Among the People is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Alphonse de Lamartine is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Alphonse de Lamartine then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Atheism and Republics
"Atheism Among the People" by Alphonse de Lamartine, was written after the Revolution in 1848 in France which created the Second Republic and before the coup of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1851 which ended it. It describes the ebb and flow of Atheistic sentiment among the French people from the middle of the eighteenth century, through the first French Revolution, the Restoration, the 1830 revolution and the revolution of 1848.

Its author was one of the founders of the Second Republic. He argues that Atheism is harmful to republics, because atheists feel duty only to themselves, and not to the republic. He considers this almost self-evident -- "must I demonstrate to you so simple a truth?" - and concludes: "therefore, Atheism in the People is the most invincible obstacle to the establishment and consolidation of ... the Republic."

(Why atheists wouldn't be as interested in freedom as theists, he does not say. Nor does he say why atheists, who reject God as being illogical, wouldn't see the logical necessity of supporting a republic which guards their freedom.)

But he isn't just against Atheism: he is also anti-clerical, and anti-establishment -- for the separation of church and state -- because of the excesses of churches backed by State power, and because he believes that more religious freedom will lead to more belief in God, which is necessary for the republic to survive. This stance qualifies him as a "liberal" of the period.

In support of this argument, he offers the following historical sketch:
* The first French Revolution, initially good, was corrupted by atheistic philosophy (which was responsible for the Terror), and was just getting back on track when stopped by the rise of Napoleon.
* Napoleon cynically only created and used a State religion to increase his own power and hence further drove people to Atheism. This remained true under the Restoration, only with more religious sincerity on the part of the rulers.
* The 1830 revolution ended the state religion, and religion among the people waxed -- even though it also brought laissez-faire, and made "gold the true and only God" for many.
* The Revolution of 1848 was initially driven by religious People, which is why it did not devolve into terror. Then the atheistic free-traders and materialists started moving in to co-opt it.

This is the state of affairs at the time the author writes. He wants the republic to succeed, and therefore he pens this warning against Atheism.

This is a short book - 71 print pages, 373 Kindle locations. It may be a little hard to follow if one isn't familiar with French history of the period. Its argumentation is a little weak, treating many things as not needing much proof.Because of those and an effusive prose style, it only rates 3 stars.

... Read more

5. Modern Atheism Under Its Forms of Pantheism, Materialism, Secularism, Development, and Natural Laws
by James Buchanan
Paperback: 252 Pages (2010-09-05)
list price: US$33.21 -- used & new: US$33.21
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Asin: 1153752492
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The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Atheism; History / General; Law / Natural Law; Religion / Atheism; Religion / Theology; ... Read more

6. From Atheism to Catholicism: How Scientists and Philosophers Led Me to the Truth
by Kevin Vost
Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-03-15)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$11.53
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Asin: 1592766382
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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God was dead to Kevin Vost for most of his adult life. Baptized, confirmed, and raised Catholic, at age 17 Vost left it all behind as he immersed himself in atheism for a period that lasted over two decades.

Paralleling a successful career as a psychologist and professor, Vost allowed his clinical perspective to drive his faith perspective as well, falling into a common trap for many Catholics.

This timely book's unique approach includes the good elements in the thinking of several famous atheists.
But then from experience and logic, he shows how each of these authors falls short of the mark.

Vost also opens the door to the philosophers and psychologists whose work, implicitly or explicitly, have paved the way toward belief in God and even in Jesus Christ.

And finally, from the perspective of a clinical psychologist, Vost unveils how theologians, popes, and Catholic philosophers persuaded him to abandon his atheism and embrace faith in Christ and the Church. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy read
Very interesting subject matter, very well presented by the author. I found the book easy to read and the arguments easy to follow. The book documents a personal journey and its authenticity is enhanced by the author having studied philosophy in some detail before returning to the Church.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
This is the latest book by Dr. Kevin Vost that I have read. With each of the previous I have felt I came to know the author by his self-revelation in and through his writings. In this latest book it is even far more so. For Dr. Vost takes us with him through a journey of philosophy and through the humanities that once lead him away from God and the Church but then became tools that helped him to return to the church.

The Sections in the book Are:

Foreword: God Bless the Atheists
Introduction: Neither Bird, nor Plane, but Superman!

1. Friedrich Nietzsche's Superman
2. The Lord and Lord Bertrand Russell
3. Albert Ellis: Reason, Emotion, Psychotherapy, and Jehovah
4. Aristotle Shrugged: Ayn Rand and the Intellectual Soul
5. Darwin and Dawkins: Genes, Memes, and "Me's"

6. Alfred Adler and the Fictive Goal of God
7. Stoic Strivings: The Slave, The Lawyer, The Emperor, and God
8. Mortimer Adler and the God of the Philosophers

9. St. Thomas Aquinas: The Angelic Doctor Effects a Cure
10. C. S Lewis: God Save the Queen
11. G. K. Chesterton: What Could Be Right With the World
12. Pope John Paul II: Faith and Reason, Body and Soul

Conclusion: The Real Super Man
Afterword: An Ode to the Real Super Man

By taking us on a whirlwind tour through those topics, Vost helps us to experience his own spiritual journey and some of it may mirror our own or people we know. Then by using him as an example, we will also develop the tools to argue and refute the claims of the secular humanist, and those we know who have slid away from the church and its teachings. This was not an easy book to read; philosophy is not my strong suit. But Vost presents it in such a way that almost any layman can approach the topics with confidence and faith in their interpretation. The book is well written and easily engages the reader. The personal nature of the writing makes topics that would normally be inaccessible to some readers much more accessible. It is very well written. Thank you Dr. Vost for another great tool to help us in our spiritual development. His other books also help to strengthen us in either Body, Mind or Spirit.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed
I enjoyed the book, but I think I really enjoyed it because I have already read many of the works Yost talks about in his book.So I'm not sure if I would have liked it as much had I not already been familiar with many of the personalities, because the chapters can sometimes seem kinda short.This isn't the refutation of atheism I was expecting, but rather a well written faith journey from atheism to Catholicism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just what I was looking for - and more
This book is a tour de force.I came to it wanting to learn more about modern philosophy's critique of theism; and that is here - Nietzsche, Darwinism, Bertrand Russell, Ayn Rand, etc.Vost's voice throughout is honestly appreciative of, and sympathetic toward, the atheist philosophers who shaped his earlier life. (With a subtitle like "How Scientists and Philosophers Led Me to Truth," I was correct in my suspicion that it would have a completely unique take on the matter.)An atheist well into his forties, when Vost points out the shortcomings in that position he does so with keen insight.His discussion of scientist turned amateur philosopher, Richard Dawkins, was very informative and his explanation of Dawkins' theory regarding "memes" the most down to earth I've seen.Vost introduces us to the works of other converts from atheism to theism as well - Antony Flew and Mortimer Adler two who jump to mind.In short, this book gives quite an education and from the pen of a man who knows both atheism and theism from the inside. He writes as one comfortable in his own skin (unlike so many within the "new atheism"). ... Read more

7. God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens
by John F. Haught
Paperback: 156 Pages (2007-12-31)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.25
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Asin: 066423304X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In God and the New Atheism a world expert on science and theology gives clear, concise, and compelling answers to the charges against religion laid out in recent bestselling books by Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Sam Harris (The End of Faith), and Christopher Hitchens (God Is not Great).For some, thesenew atheistsappear to say extremely well what they believe to be wrong with religion. But, as John Haught shows, the treatment of religion in these books is riddled with logical inconsistencies, shallow misconceptions, and crude generalizations.Can God really be dismissed as a mere delusion? Is faith really the enemy of reason? And does religion really poison everything?God and the New Atheism offers a much-needed antidote to the extremist claims of scientific fundamentalism. This provocative and accessible little book will enable readers to see through the rhetorical fog of this recent phenomenon and come to a clearer understanding of the issues at stake in this crucial debate. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

2-0 out of 5 stars Bad Book
I recall that before entering college, I was assigned a summer reading book by Gould. Perhaps it was my own stupidity, perhaps it was my scientific illiteracy, perhaps it was my lack of ability to appreciate his work, but I didn't like the book. There was a big seminar for us entering students at which we were asked to express our thoughts on the volume which a certain science professor would discuss with us. Somebody stood up and said exactly what I had been thinking. The professor then threw a temper tantrum. He told the student that the latter had no clue what he was talking about and to truly understand, he'd have to read a lot more of Gould than just one piddling book. I thought the professor was being quite silly; we had been asked to present our thoughts on the book. It was his prerogative to give us information which might deepen our understanding, but attacking a student for not reading other works when we had only been asked to read one struck me as immature.

I was reminded of this memory by this book and some reviews. I understand that Haught probably knows a lot more about the history of theology than Dawkins. As a graduate student in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, I can respect that. But what can I say? This book is presented as a basic refutation (even if we are referred to another book for a deeper critique of scientific naturalism) of the New Atheists and I think it fails in its mission. I'd like to read Haught's other books to understand his worldview better, but this book should stand on its own, and in my opinion, it doesn't.

A few thoughts on the volume's arguments:
1)The fact that we have "faith" in our minds and the value of Truth is not a justification for "faith" in God. We have "faith" in our minds because, very simply, they're all we got to try and make this world better.
2) Haught wants us to believe God isn't a hypothesis, but that He is the Creator. That makes him a hypothesis!
3) To quote an Amazon reviewer who summed up another problem well: "When he derides Dawkins' use of Occam's razor (the argument that the simplest explanation should carry) Haught explains that there are many mutually compatible observations to make of a single phenomenon -- for example his book was commissioned by the publisher, written by him, AND printed by a press. This is like saying an apple is red AND a fruit, and not at all like comparing creationism to evolution. Does he not know that? Should I be embarrassed or insulted?"
4) As a Jew who has recently left Orthodox Judaism, I was appalled by the halfhearted attempt at theodicy. Berkovits and Soloveitchik both write similarly that the evils of the world allow us to come to true greatness, to reach our best heights, to conquer the highest mountains of our inner demons. But both of them caution that this can't be the reason for evil in the universe, that this explanation could not possibly justify the Holocaust. Neither of them have a perfect theodicy because they are humble enough to realize that while they may believe in God for reasons they think are rational, they simply can't bring themselves to justify the Holocaust.
5) I give this volume two stars as opposed to one because I liked his comparison of religion to sex and bad religion to sex abuse. He wrote about how people are constantly looking for some "idol" and even if we got rid of religion, some other nasty ideal will very quickly take its place in the hearts of people. That got me thinking. Maybe people need faith (I use the term in the sense Haught doesn't like, but I think he fails to knock out, belief without evidence)? Maybe without faith, people won't be able to think skeptically and critically, as Hitchens and the others encourage us to do? Maybe humanity is simply incapable of properly working towards the ideal of rationality and needs a bit of woo to keep it going? Truth be told, I don't buy this argument either. I believe in humans more than that. But it did get me thinking and I can't refute it too hastily.

2-0 out of 5 stars Revealing protest falls short
I've read the books Haught objects to, this one got pretty good reviews on Amazon so I picked it up in hopes for a reasoned response from the "other side."

I was sorry to see so much patronizing, so many straw dogs and pot shots (e.g. "our ill-informed new athiests" ... know absolutely nothing of theology).Fair enough.Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens also do their sniping at times.But once I got over that I tried to find the substance of the book.Here is much of it, and all these points are repeated many times: (1) The new atheists are are not as rigorous as the old ones like Sartre, Nietzche, Camus.(2) They don't know anything about theology and (3) they rail against only the most extreme and fundamental religious beliefs, which Haught himself distances himself from.And (4) where new atheists rely on objective evidence for their beliefs, Haught asks "Can anyone prove objectively that the postulate of objectivity is true?"This last point was made again and again, and then he curiously developed it on page 74 where he simply explains that atheists differ from believers by trusting in the mind's ability to reason!Believers, he explains, allow themselves instead "to be grasped and carried away" by Faith, which he defines as "the inexhaustibly deep dimension of Being, Meaning, Truth, and Goodness." That was particularly disappointing, as he had just ridiculed Harris for defining Faith as "belief without evidence."I mean, is faith belief without evidence or isn't it?

The book is short (100 pages) and pretty well written though often repetitive and pejorative, as I have said before.He often summarizes "the new atheists" arguments reasonably well, but occasionally he is way off the mark.For example, when he derides Dawkins' use of Occam's razor (the argument that the simplest explanation should carry) he explains that there are many mutually compatible observations to make of a single phenomenon -- for example his book was commissioned by the publisher, written by him, AND printed by a press.This is like saying an apple is red AND a fruit, and not at all like comparing creationism to evolution.Does he not know that?Should I be embarrassed or insulted?

He also tried to answer a query posed by Dawkins to creationists.It goes like this.If life on Earth is so complex that it could not have occurred by chance, and must have been designed by a Creator -- then the Creator (who also micromanages His Creation) must be much more complex than His Creation, so how exactly did *He* come about?Wouldn't the chance of God just occurring be infinitely less than the probability of life just occurring?It's a great question, and Haught answers: Since Dawkins clearly believes in evolution, he must think that God *evolved*.Clearly that's ridiculous, and so Dawkins is ridiculous too!

As I've said, I've read Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett.I've read Alister McGrath as well, and this, because I am looking for a thoughtful response.Anyone reading just this book, and not the others, is doing themselves a disservice.Read this AND the books he criticizes, and then decide for yourself which set of arguments have more merit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best response to Dawkins et. al next to South Park
First off, to check my biases at the door: I'm an agnostic, I was raised a nonbeliever, and I remain unconvinced by any religions. Still, it is impossible to escape the fact that many of the brightest minds in history, including a number of avowed atheists, have taken the idea of god extremely seriously and to that end have pursued an understanding of theology and an engagement with religious ideas. Following that example, I have spent a great deal of my life contemplating various religious texts, theologians, and faiths in an attempt to come to an understanding of what religious faith is. The conclusions I have come to about that is that it is not so easily encapsulated in the almost paleolithic theology of american fundamentalists whose biblical literalism is offended by scientific truth. Which is what I find the most disappointing about the high profile New Atheists, which is for all of their lionization of scientific discovery they are wildly uncurious about the idea that they spend so much time attacking. I think I know the reason for this, and it is that they view their work mostly as a defensive maneuver against a very real and very dangerous war on science being waged by a very small but rabid group of fundamentalist christians. Where they have gone wrong, however, is in merely accepting the version of christianity on offer by their opponents uncritically, without asking for themselves if this anemic doctrine is in fact the faith of billions that has gripped most of western civilization for the last 1700 years or so? John Haught in this book makes the short, compelling case that it is not. In doing so, the professor very humanely but I think rightly takes the new atheists to task for failing to understand what it was they were attacking before they set out to attack it. Haught, it should be noted, is an ally in the battle against science having devoted his life to showing how biology and evolution are anything but an enemy of religion and that science leads to truths that persons of faith should embrace rather than fight against. As such, he is uniquely qualified to deal with the arguments on offer from Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, and when he greets their arguments with a shrug and says "so what?" it should give pause to those who think that scientific materialism is a slam dunk for atheists. I think anyone who has read Hitchens, Harris, or Dawkins work on atheism and science should take the time to read this book (and probably Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) in order to get a more complete picture of the field. Again, I think these questions are largely unsettled and probably unsettlable, and I think anyone with a real interest in truth, reason, and reality ought to take the time to survey the whole field of battle before they've declared themselves the victor.

4-0 out of 5 stars Moderate Theism Confronts the New Atheists
What thinking person wouldn't be thrilled by the proof that God does exist? Yet today, when most hard-shelled atheists are confronted with the clear theistic arguments, they cover their eyes and ears and shout vociferously. In "God and the New Atheism," non-conservative Christian scholar John F. Haught delivers a fine critical response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens. Haught does work in the field of theology and science and he has furnished progressive-minded theists with a robust apologetic.

He admires thinkers such as:
- Barth
- Tillich
- Bultman
- Whitehead
- Moltmann
and many other religious moderates.

He takes the New Atheists (NA) to task in revealing that:

- Dennett's notion that "science can provide an adequate understanding of religion is obviously not ... a provable claim." (p. x)
- The NA is "theologically unchallenging"
- Atheism, at its "fundamental" base, is full of "flaws and fallacies" (p. xiii)
- Sam Harris envisions himself as the "new Buddha" (p. 2)
- Faith is not "belief without evidence" (p. 4-6)
- The finite world alone cannot account for infinite truths like mathematics.

Furthermore he maintains that science alone cannot fully explain anything, thus scientism is "self-contradictory" inasmuch as it is a philosophical system which demands that hard science is the only means of discovering truth (this rules out philosophical a priori notions such as: itself - p. 17).

Additionally he insightfully argues that:

- The NA's lack of philosophical and epistemic rigor and would make the past atheists (Russell, Camus, Sartre, Marx, etc.) cringe with embarrassment (p. 20-27)
- The NA cannot account for always binding moral laws (p. 26)
- Most anti-theists lack a sound understanding of theology
- The NA are fundamentalists and extremists (p. 31-39)
- "Reason, in order to avoid self-imprisonment, needs faith" (p. 64)
- If God doesn't exist everything is permitted
- Darwinism alone cannot account for why the "mind is reasonable" (p. 74)
- Dawkins' discussion on biblical morality is "ignorant and foolish" (p. 68).
- "The physical determinism, or lawfulness, of the lower levels in the hierarchy of explanations does not need to be suspended in order for the universe to be influenced by a personal God" (p. 91).
- "Science is not wired to either detect or rule out the existence of God (p. 51).

The author contends that people should be theists because they should "take a leap of faith" (p. 46-50) forasmuch as "Infinite Being, Meaning, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty--provide an adequate justification for this belief" (p. 51). Atheism cannot justify order and rules. It claims that the cosmos is the product of time acting upon matter and motion, and from chaos humanity arose. Thus, within the worldview of atheism, reason is just an illusion; human beings are just animated cocktails of water, protein, and minerals. Man has no immaterial aspect to his personality. Therefore, all our thoughts are just the infusion and commingling of chemicals in our gray matter, yet herein the author resists this idea with as much force as he contends against conservative Christian apologetics.

Conservative biblical Christians should note: The author contends for theism as he repetitively sloshes ID adherents, creationists, and conservative Christians (I'm a conservative Christian with some allegiance to ID evidence, yet mere ID lacks epistemic tools to contend at the level of rational pre-commitments: the a priori ground for unchanging universals and laws necessary for intelligibility).
The Necessary Existence of God: The Proof of Christianity Through Presuppositional Apologetics

4-0 out of 5 stars Gift
Purchased this book as a gift for someone who had requested it and it's my understanding he found it quite interesting.I just can't say first hand, as it is not something I have interest in reading myself. ... Read more

8. Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins' Case Against God
by Scott Hahn, Benjamin Wiker
Paperback: 151 Pages (2008-05-08)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.76
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Asin: 1931018480
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The essential book for dismantling Richard Dawkins' atheistic agenda. Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker collaborate to debunk Dawkins' theories and show how inconsistent and illogical his conclusions truly are. This is the definitive book for college students or faithful Christians hoping to answer Dawkins' claims and assert the logic and beauty of their faith. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

1-0 out of 5 stars Same old nonsense
This is just another book that doesn't want to understand evolution or atheism and so its only defence is to use misinterpretation to try and make a point (an art form perfected by Vox Day). The authors are like those who get inside a closet, close the door, and insist that it must be night because it is dark in the closet. And, as usual, those who gave this book a 5 are those who don't want to hear what Dawkins is saying and need the poorly constructed arguments of those, such as the authors, that never speak to the real issue.

5-0 out of 5 stars So very logical
I have two boys that are atheists.It's as if they lost their minds.Reading this book gave me some good arguments to help them see that a world without a creator makes no sense.

1-0 out of 5 stars Hungry minds
Would it be fair to say that our minds hunger for existential meaning? What happens to a mind when what it is fed cannot sustain, but is still valued?

The best thing about this book is the cover - quite funny even if it is meant in rudeness with Dawkins caricature almost fawnlike and with a hooked nose, ears that are a little impish or perhaps suggestive of old age and an old near decrepit mouth. A little nasty, but funny in other ways.

Does this book go any further than some of the other critiques of Dawkins? No. It heads backwards into the well trodden and seemingly safe areas that abound in not actually tackling a subject matter.

I wish I could be bothered to go back through and count how many times the matter of a subject or point is ignored. That word jumps out at me; surely ignorance and ignore have the same root? If you want to spend a few days of your life reading a book that presents almost fictitious representations of arguments so that it can just about knock them down then this may be for you. To anyone more interested in how they spend their free time... look elsewhere - even if you dream of kicking atheism onto its bottom.

The last chapter makes a jump forwards though, but only in devout intolerance. These arguments have been made before, and though they seemingly have not been swatted from the minds of the authors, I would hope that people would either read a little more around the subject or think about the non-believers they themselves know. The world is not going to fall apart as the idea of Mr Deity changes. Lack of faith in humanity is one of religions most mysterious curses.

And what's happened to Antony Flew? 'Rarely, if ever, in my many years as a Professor of Philosphy did I ever have the opportunity to read such a compelling argument'!!! Has he stopped trying to answer questions and is just circling around his own beliefs? Has he given up on questioning? What happened to a love of wisdom? I mean really? As a Professor of Philosophy he rarely 'if ever' read arguments more compelling. I didn't like the argument that he had lost his faculties when he converted to the big C, but I am saddened to see such drivel from anyone that once held a professorship of a subject as difficult and complex as his.

Then there is David Klinghoffer. He sounds really nice. I wish he was my friend.....

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent refutation of Dawkins by Creatards ha
To sum up the critiques succinctly. "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible". Those who give a 1 star rating would rather, like Dawkins, believe that the impossible is probable, albeit very very remotely probable to the nth degree. To them it would be easier to believe a cow jumping over the moon or a statue moving than to belive in God. Amazingly atheists and agnostics continue to read the "creatards" books, but "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" Most certainly.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not his best
Scott Hahn does a much better job defending Catholicism against Protestants and Mormons than he does defending theism against atheists.Many of the defenses in this book have already been widely criticized by 16-year-old boys I used to debate with in the various Myspace groups.Also, since Dawkins is one of the least logical atheists who argue against God, his fans are also the least logical of the atheists.That means that they won't care about what this book has to say.

The best way to argue with atheists is to turn the tables on them: question every statement they make.Be skeptical of them, and they will begin to realize that they cannot defend a great deal of their opposition to theism. ... Read more

9. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-10-30)
list price: US$28.99 -- used & new: US$20.14
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Asin: 0521603676
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this volume, eighteen of the world's leading scholars present original essays on various aspects of atheism: its history, both ancient and modern, defense and implications.The topic is examined in terms of its implications for a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, religion, feminism, postmodernism, sociology and psychology. In its defense, both classical and contemporary theistic arguments are criticized, and, the argument from evil, and impossibility arguments, along with a non religious basis for morality are defended. These essays give a broad understanding of atheism and a lucid introduction to this controversial topic. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
Plenty of interesting ideas but I found some places bogged down in symbolic logic which makes it difficult for the layman. Still worth the read though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophical essays published by Cambridge University Press
Many Atheists or those curious about Atheism have read books by the "four horsemen" of the so-called "New Atheism," and while those are entertaining, there is nothing in those books on the same level as what is found in this book.Of course, nothing in any of the books actually prove there is no god, but the burden of proof is not on those that do not believe an exceptional claim, but on those that make the exceptional claim.Most people would agree that the existence of an all-powerful god would be quite exceptional, presumably far more than dragons or unicorns . . . or even Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.

Not all of the essays are philosophical arguments for or against a god, but that takes up the majority of the book.The essay by Zuckerman on statistics of the religious or nonreligious is an enlightening and thoughtful essay that provides much food for thought, just based on the numbers.One of the essays is by William Lane Craig, the premier theist philosopher that debates all the persons that express thoughts on the side of doubt, and that essay may be enlightening to those that are not familiar with Craig or theistic arguments for a god.In my opinion, having read this essay as well as his arguments in debates (even while I was a theist), his arguments are embarrassingly inadequate to convince anyone that has the slightest grasp on reason and logic.

If one is interested in reading a higher level of theistic or atheistic discourse, this book covers many areas and introduces many ideas in a scholarly form.As a compilation of scholarly essays, this is for the more serious thinker, while being accessible to those that are not currently familiar with the philosophy in question.This book undoubtedly deserves five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars A rigourous study that will give atheists something to believe in...
Atheism involves far more than people screaming "God is dead!" and stamping their feet. As this dense collection demonstrates, scholars have heaped oodles of diverse brain power onto this subject. Three main sections, each containing numerous erudite essays, provide enough intellectual girth and breadth to quell disparate curiosities. Theists and atheists alike can hone their knowledge and expand their understanding of this firebrand topic that has recently crept into the mainstream. As of last year, many bookstores even have sections dedicated to atheism, from which this book's purple-blue spine often juts out like neon.

The book opens with a short general, and unattributed, introduction that delineates the definitional nuances that riddle the terms "atheism" and "agnosticism." It also discusses the etymological roots of "atheist" back to the Greek "a" and "theos," roughly meaning "without gods." Later essays build on the definitions presented, which include "positive" and "negative" atheism and "skeptical" and "cancellation" agnosticism. A glossary also helps keeps these terms in line. The subsequent essays can be read in any order, but keeping to one section at a time will aid comprehension of the major issues.

Part I, called "Background," looks at ancient and modern notions of atheism. Jam Bremmer's "Atheism in Antiquity" discusses the Greek, Hellenic, Roman, and Christian attitudes. As expected, the term was often used in disparaging ways against enemies. For example, Socrates was accused of atheism in Plato's famous "Apology." Next, "Atheism in Modern History," by Gavin Hyman, explores the link between theism, atheism, and modernity. He thinks they may all be inextricably linked, and the essay ends with the provocative claim: "the fate of atheism would seem to be inescapably bound up with the fate of modernity." He also traces the origins of modern atheism back to the transition from Augustinian notions of God as a "great mystery" to Dun Scotus' more theologically and epistemologically accessible God. In this way modern atheism, Gavin claims, began within theism itself. Part I closes with an intriguing demographic overview of global atheism by Phil Zuckerman. Though the numbers fluctuate based on the various surveys and studies, they contain few surprises: Sweden, Vietnam, and most of europe seem to have greater concentrations of "non-believers" than the Middle East and the United States.

Part II, "The Case Against Theism," contains essays dealing almost exhaustively with arguments for and against theism. All of the most ominous brain scratchers receive aptattention here: ontological arguments, compatibilities with naturalism and physicalism, evolution, ethical autonomy, arguments from evil, cosmological arguments, and impossibility arguments. This section's first essay, William Lane Craig's "Theistic Critiques of Atheism," gives theism a chance to air its grievances, as it's written from a theistic perspective. Hardcore atheists may have trouble making it through this one. The rest of the section critiques theist arguments with the overall tone of logical analysis as exemplified in what's known as Anglo-American Analytic philosophy. Throughout, many arguments get picked apart, analyzed, and critiqued in sometimes minute detail. The collection doesn't get more technical than these essays. One of the more challenging essays here is Quentin Smith's "Kalam Cosmological Arguments for Atheism," which utilizes Bang Bang cosmology to critique arguments concerning "uncaused causes." In contrast, one of the more accessible is Daniel Dennet's "Atheism and Evolution," which argues that evolution provides a plausible explanation for the origins of life contra teleological arguments from design.

Part III, "Implications," loses the logical focus and explores atheism's other impacts, including editor Michael Martin's survey of potentially "atheistic religions," namely Jainism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. His analysis concludes that, though atheism is not a religion, atheism and religion do not necessarily stand in irreconcilably stark contrast to each other, as often thought. Other subjects covered include: atheism and feminism, atheism and freedom of religion, atheism and postmodernism, anthropologies of religion, and a psychological profile of atheists. Of all these, John D. Caputo's "Atheism, A/theology, and the Postmodern Condition" stands out as the most challenging, especially for those not versed in Continental or Postmodern thought. He challenges the notion of atheism as a "grand narrative" and thus subject to some of the same postmodern critiques as theism. Lastly, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi's "Atheists: A Psychological Profile," the closing essay, describes atheists as more likely to be male, highly educated, and filled with existential angst. He uses voluminous studies (some of which seem very dated) to support these conclusions. The volume closes on a considerable high note with: "...atheists show themselves to be less authoritarian and suggestible, less dogmatic, less prejudiced, more tolerant of others, law-abiding, compassionate, conscientious, and well educated. They are of high intelligence, and many are committed to the intellectual and scholarly life. In short, they are good to have as neighbors." Whether this holds water or represents mere self-congratulation remains for the reader to decide.

"The Cambridge Companion to Atheism" provides a great overall view of this controversial topic. Certain parts remain more dense and technical than others, but nothing is beyond comprehension. Though accessible throughout, a more academic than popular tone pervades the majority of the writing. Nonetheless, this never detracts from the collection's readability. The book's some 300 pages provide more than an overview; they dig deep into many granular issues affecting the subject of atheism. As such, this collection delivers detailed and in-depth knowledge, not just a 10,000 foot view. It's more than an introduction: it's a considerably rigorous study of atheism, its foundations, and its implications. It will definitely give atheists something to believe in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful exploration of atheism's implications
This is a very thought-provoking collection of essays, edited by Michael Martin, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Boston University. Eighteen leading scholars, mostly from the USA, discuss aspects of atheism and its implications for philosophy, religion, law, anthropology, sociology, psychology, biology and physics.

Sociologist Phil Zuckerman estimates that there are about 500-750 million atheists, agnostics and unbelievers, which is 58 times the number of Mormons, 41 times the number of Jews, 35 times the number of Sikhs, and twice the number of Buddhists. Atheists, agnostics and unbelievers are the fourth largest group, after Christians (two billion), Muslims (1.2 billion) and Hindus (900 million).

Daniel Dennett examines the relationship between atheism and evolution. He shows how matter has evolved to produce mind, rather than matter being produced by an originating mind.

Philosopher David Brink discusses the need for a secular ethics based on objective standards. He notes that in ethical subjectivism, ethics depends on the beliefs of an appraiser, but God is an appraiser too. So religion brings subjectivity into ethics. Also, if ethics depends on God's will, then it is relative to God's will, so religion brings relativism into ethics.

Again, if God commands an action because it is good, then God and his commands are unnecessary. If an action is good because God commands it, then ethics is unnecessary and obedience to God is the only virtue. So religion, which supposedly sets ethics on an objective basis, with independent values and standards, in fact reduces ethics to subjective opinions, with no independent values or standards.

Also religion compromises morality. When eternal bliss is the reward for goodness, then selfish considerations cannot but intrude, inevitably corrupting goodness. Belief in God becomes an insurance policy.

Philosopher Andrea Weisberger writes, "The existence of evil is the most fundamental threat to the traditional Western concept of an all-good, all-powerful God." If we are morally obliged to reduce evil, then God must also be obliged. If he is all-powerful, why doesn't he prevent unnecessary suffering? Those who argue that God uses evil for some greater good are saying that God immorally uses people and their suffering as means to ends.

Philosopher Patrick Grim shows that God's traditional attributes - omnipotence, omniscience and moral perfection - are all intrinsically impossible, self-contradictory idealist fantasies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rigorous and nonpolemical,
The theism/atheism dialogue in recent years generates a good deal more heat than light.Too frequently, champions of either position seem to think that polemics trumps rational analysis.The authors in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism refuse to treat the issue as if it were a high school debate, however.Their reasoning for the most part is rigorous and civil.That's why the collection, edited by philosopher Michael Martin (a long-time and distinguished advocate of atheism), is a genuine contribution to the conversation.

An earlier reviewer has given an good summation of the collection's contents.I would add that the essays tend to be a bit uneven in quality.Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi's "Atheists:A Psychological Profile," for example, curiously appeals to quite dated data.Christine Overall's claim that a consistent regard for liberation demands that feminists also be atheists strikes me as underdetermined.Patrick Grim's essay on impossibility arguments is solidly argued, but is impenetrable for anyone without a hefty course of logic under their belts.

On the other hand, Quentin Smith's reductio of the kalam cosmological argument is an exceptionally strong piece, and Evan Fales does a good job in a short amount of space of summarizing the naturalistic/physicalist foundation of atheism (at least atheism in the Anglo-American tradition).But perhaps the most intriguing--and important--essay in the entire collection is Gavin Hyman's "Atheism in Modern History."One of Hyman's main points is that both theism and atheism may in fact be more products of modernity than either believers or nonbelievers recognize.This is an important observation, because both theists and atheists tend to be unhistorical, thereby totalizing their claims.

All in all, a strong collection, although it's too bad that editorial modesty inhibited Michael Martin from contributing an essay.Anyone looking for rigorous analysis of atheism should focus on this volume or The Impossibility of God, also edited by Martin, and give more popular but polemical collections--such as Christopher Hedges' The Portable Atheist--a miss.
... Read more

10. The Heavenly Father - Lectures on Modern Atheism
by Ernest Naville
Paperback: 146 Pages (2010-07-12)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: B003YH9XGI
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The Heavenly Father - Lectures on Modern Atheism is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Ernest Naville is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Ernest Naville then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

11. Atheism: The Case Against God (Skeptic's Bookshelf)
by George H. Smith
Paperback: 355 Pages (1980-06)
list price: US$22.98 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 087975124X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With this intriguing introduction, George H Smith sets out to demolish what he considers the most widespread and destructive of all the myths devised by man - the concept of a supreme being. With painstaking scholarship and rigorous arguments, Mr. Smith examines, dissects, and refutes the myriad "proofs" offered by theists - the defenses of sophisticated, professional theologians, as well as the average religious layman. He explores the historical and psychological havoc wrought by religion in general - and concludes that religious belief cannot have any place in the life of modern, rational man. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (257)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Definitive Case
I have read a lot of books on Atheism and most are OK, but Smith provides the best scholarly and definitive case for Atheism. As a professional philosopher he takes Christianity apart at the nut-and-bolt level. He illuminates with convincing logic all the dark corners theists tend to take cover including faith, revelation, their attacks on reason itself, and some of the classic arguments that science has now debunked. When he is done, theist have no where to hide, no "escape" routes, and thier case falls apart.

I especially liked the section on ethics. While Christianity presents a superfiscial moral system (that appeals to those who do not engage in critical thinking), Smith strips away its veneer of respectability. He demonstrates how Christianity is psychologically damaging with its emphasis on fear and guilt and focus on the next world, totally lacking in reasons to justify the many commands of god--only calling for unquestioning obedience. The moral system is clearly there to serve god, not the happiness of man on this earth.

While his approach is philosophically technically sound, Smith writes in manner that laymen can follow his reasoning.
This book will shift any agnostic into atheism and any believer into serious doubt--if he opens his mind while reading it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
I've read many books on religion and counter apologetics, and this is easily one of the best.Despite being 30 years old, some of the arguments were brand new to me.The methodical and rational way the author picks apart the various traits commonly attributed to god (omniscience, omnipotence, etc) is just beautiful.Highly highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Deserving of its reputation
This book is reputedly the best selling book pro atheism book ever. If true, it's easy to see why. The book tackles the subject at a fairly deep philosophical level while still being accessible to philosophy neophytes like myself.

Books of this sort can hardly fail to be polarizing. There is a strong tendency to rate it highly or lowly depending on whether one accepts the author's conclusions or not. The merits of this book are attested by the number of reviewer's who disagreed with the author but still rated it highly.

The book has over 250 reviews thus far so it is hard to find anything to say which hasn't been said earlier or better. I think both atheists and theists can get value out of reading this book.

The atheist, unless he is well steeped in philosophy, will likely find a number of points covered which had never occurred to him. The chapter dealing with the very intelligibility of God is a case in point. Atheists and theists alike, growing up in a predominately theistic society, will find it odd that just defining what God or a god is can be such a difficult matter.

The theist will find this book useful as a means merely to acquaint himself with an alien mindset. Many theists are insulated from atheist positions and arguments because they represent such a minority view in America at least. If knowing your enemy is important to the theist than this book is about as thorough and painless and introduction as could be wished for.

Most books tackling the existence of God either are too superficial or too impenetrable to be of interest to the intelligent layman. This book avoids those pitfalls. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the Best
Even after thirty years, this is still by far the best primer on atheism. There is plenty of info for someone who is looking for an introduction to the subject, or for those who may be more versed. Smith covers all of the major arguments for the existence of God (cosmological, ontological, etc.) and finds them wanting. A particular favorite (for me) is the final section showing the absurdity of the idea of the Christian god and the many contradictions of the Bible. If you're looking to read only one book on atheism, you would be hard pressed to do better than this.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Cause-God-Existence"

12. Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (Ideas Explained)
by David Ramsay Steele
Paperback: 224 Pages (2008-01-15)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.92
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Asin: 0812696379
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Atheism Explained explores the claims made both for and against the existence of God. On the pro side: that the wonders of the world can only be explained by an intelligent creator; that the universe had to start somewhere; telepathy, out-of-body experiences, and other paranormal phenomena demonstrate the existence of a spirit world; and that those who experience God directly provide evidence as real as any physical finding. After disputing these arguments through calm, careful criticism, author David Ramsay Steele presents the reasons why God cannot exist: monstrous, appalling evils; the impossibility of omniscience; and the senseless concept that God is a thinking mind without a brain. He also explores controversial topics such as Intelligent Design, the power of prayer, religion without God, and whether a belief in God makes people happier and healthier. Steele’s rational, easy-to-understand prose helps readers form their own conclusions about this eternally thorny topic.
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Customer Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars misnamed
This book is rather badly misnamed.Instead of "Atheism Explained", it should be titled "Theism Critiqued" as about 90% of the book consists of explanations of what is wrong about theism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and Informative
David Ramsay Steele's Atheism Explained is a refreshing overview of atheistic thought.

Steele's approach is to examine the logical merits of common theistic and atheistic arguments.After introducing an argument, he clearly lists atheistic objections, and often, theistic rebuttals.The strength of Steele's book rests with its clear presentation of ideas and honest approach to the truth.

I do not hesitate to recommend this book to nonbelievers interested in strengthening their knowledge in atheistic thought.Because of how the book is presented (with its main divisions being arguments for god and arguments against god), it is accessible to individuals with varying backgrounds in philosophy.Thus, any believers who are interested in reading a good summary of what modern atheism is all about will find Steele's Atheism Explained lucid and thought-provoking.

3-0 out of 5 stars Qualified Recommendation
Steele's main approach in this book is to lay out what he deems to be the strongest theistic arguments, which he analyzes and refutes.This is mostly effective. I recommend reading this book but I have some reservations about doing so because of some fundamentally wrong, and even odd, assertions of his.

In his preface to "Atheism Explained" Steele categorizes books "explaining atheism and arguing for it" as either too technical for the general reader or of a second type, which is "...usually personal in tone, seething with moral indignation against atrocities committed in the name of God, unsystematic in approach, and occasional betraying ignorance of just what the theists have believed."In a later section of this book, under the heading "Bad or Feeble Arguments Against God," he asserts that "The three spectacular best sellers advocating atheism (The End of Faith, The God Delusion, and God Is Not Great) all rely heavily on the claim that murder and other wicked deeds are the fruits of theistic belief."I've also watched him on YouTube state that the relatively recent spate of "new atheist" bestsellers has driven many other books that have appeared on this subject, including his own book. But, he says, "One of the things that I object to about Harris and Dawkins and Hitchens is their claim in a word that religion is the root of all evil."

Set aside his misuse of "in a word."Any person with purported knowledge of this subject ought to know that neither Dawkins nor Hitchens believe that religion is the root of all evil.Yes, Dawkins once hosted a television documentary about religious beliefs called "The Root of All Evil?"He has also given multiple interviews in which he has stated clearly that he doesn't believe that religion is the root of all evil, that he argued with the producers against using that title, that the only concession that the producers made to him was to insert a question mark, and that he thinks that the notion of anything being the root of all evil is ridiculous. Not that using a title as a guide should serve as a substitute for research or is enough to go on before making assertions and comparisons.But even within that limited context, Steele works in the publishing industry and so he must know how titles are chosen (to attract attention, create controversy, etc).Hitchens too has publicly and repeatedly stated the common sense view that due to our primate nature there will always be evil acts, etc. I've never read nor seen them argue that human perfectibility would be attainable if religion ceased to exist.They do assert that it's high time for people to let go of superstitious nonsense.

It's easy enough to know the"new atheists'" opinions from their books, lectures, and debates. But Steele inexplicably appears to be misinformed about their opinions which results in strawman arguments against them.That's ironic in light of the fact that Steele claims that his book is qualitatively different and a cut above the other new atheist best-sellers ("I think I have done better in my book") because of his comparatively more philosophical and nuanced treatment of theistic beliefs.

I found it interesting to follow Mr. Steele's dissembling of various theistic positions in this book.Readers who are better-versed in theology than I am should be able to discern if Mr. Steele has accurately represented the viewpoints of particular theologians.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best I've read in this category
Just a few remarks about this splendid book. The author does present the best arguments for and against theism and atheism, and he generally seems less frantic and one-sided about the matter of God's existence. I like his approach. I guess I've read too many "atheism" books that seem to merely exhibit the author's glee at pointing out conflicts and inconsistencies in the scriptures of the 3 Abrahamic religions. This book goes further, although he also has something to say about the contradictions and absurdities. I like the fact that he says flat out that being a theist or atheist doesn't indicate your moral or intellectual superiority. (There are stupid theists and stupid atheists, and evil or moral excellence is definitely not confined to either group.) All in all, the best I've read about atheism and I strongly recommend it.We need a level-headed approach to have a dialogue with those we disagree with. Away with hysterics! For so many reared in a theistic tradition, losing one's faith can be quite traumatizing, though ultimately liberating. This book will help anyone in their journey from the god-path to whatever lies ahead in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars More interesting that you might think
I confess to coming at this book with some reluctance. Were it not a selection of my bookclub, I wouldn't have picked it up. This is not due to any aversion to atheism. I am an atheist, but the subject bores me. If I wanted to be preached to about gods, I would have stayed in the Church. What interesting things can be said about something that can be neither proven nor disproven?

But the book was a pleasant surprise. While not much of interest can be said about god in the abstract, much can be said about examining specific arguments for specific conceptions of god by theists. People who argue for the existence of god rarely do so in the abstract. They don't argue just that a god must exist, they argue that their particular conception of god must exist. And this is worth exploring. Are common or popular conceptions of god internally consistent?

Steele makes interesting arguments that in most cases, these concepts of god are not internally consistent.

There are enough references to specific writings of specific theist and atheist to make the book feel well-researched (how could he have sustained the interest?) without it reading like a history of theistic thought. Instead the focus is on the arguments, both compelling and ridiculous.Although Steele is upfront about his atheistic belief, the book doesn't read as passionate screed, but instead as a thoughtful examination of arguments on either side. He even has a section discussing atheistic arguments that he finds "feeble."

Did I enjoy the book? Yes, but I'm still not terribly interested in the subject. Would I recommend this book to a friend? Certainly, if they are actually interested in such a boring subject, god help them. ... Read more

13. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Julian Baggini
Paperback: 136 Pages (2003-08-28)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$6.46
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Asin: 0192804243
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Atheism is often considered to be a negative, dark, and pessimistic belief which is characterised by a rejection of values and purpose and a fierce opposition to religion. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral. It also confronts the failure of officially atheist states in the Twentieth Century. The book presents an intellectual case for atheism that rests as much upon positive arguments for its truth as on negative arguments against religion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

1-0 out of 5 stars Athiesm compared to what?
I suppose there is the history of atheism
it's general logic as a philosophy
the influence on politics
but what about the irrational arguements for and against?
The psychoanalyst should produce a plethora of possibilities
the real question is "what is the scientific conclusion?"
A scientific basis would mean that Darwin's prophet Dawkins might have a
greater say as creationism: a Very Short Introduction.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brief indeed
"Atheism: A Very Short Introduction" by Julian Baggini is a small book, just under 4½ by 7 inches, about 125 pages, counting even unnumbered ones. Although, since the type font is on the small side, there is more content than one might expect. Mr. Baggini is logical and clear. He is on no soapbox nor any book-thumping crusade. I loved reading the book, but must confess that for a fuller appreciation I'll have to get back to it.

Mr. Baggini's copyright is 2003, well before Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" (2006) and Christopher Hitchens' "god is not Great' (2007). Dawkins is more expansive, and Hitchens is more outspoken, although both are confrontational. Baggini's tone is more moderate, sympathetic, and even humorous. His table of contents and concise three-page index will help for quick and handy reference.

Mr. Baggini's discussion is brief but his wealth of background knowledge and critical thinking are evident. He tries to make any point simply, admittedly avoiding the fine points of the complex historical arguments. Many classic references and readings are suggested.

Neither the believer's belief in the existence of God, nor the atheist's in God's nonexistence, can be definitively proven with rational evidence. Ultimately personal convictions are what take hold, independent of pure rationality.

Mr. Baggini omits overall discussion of scripture, the so-called holy books, which are held to be divinely inspired and written by God himself and form the foundations of the major religions. He does discuss the atheist conviction that ethics and morality are not in the sole possession of religion. Darwin is absent from Baggini's index, and as for evolution his main reference is to read Richard Dawkins' "The Blind Watchmaker."

In a table of probabilities, Dawkins holds to the weakest of agnostic positions that the existence of God is a "very low probability, but short of zero" and that he "cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."

If Christianity relies upon the ultimate benevolence of God through faith in Jesus Christ, then this weakest agnostic position can also be that if there is existence after death, one can also simply rely upon this ultimate benevolence. Mr. Baggini apparently does not support any agnostic position.

"Atheism: A Very Short Introduction" by Julian Baggini is that indeed. I give him four stars. If you seek a more profound, broader, and substantial presentation, I would recommend Mr. Dawkins.

4-0 out of 5 stars A less confrontational, calmer defense of life-affirming reason
Calmly, non-dogmatically, this explains how not anti-religious so much as pro-naturalist stances can define a more postive version of atheism that accentuates reason to counter belief, myth, and superstition. As a philosopher, Baggini in a hundred pages manages to survey the moral foundations for rational assertions, the weakness of unverifiable claims of faith, and the hopes that this orientation will help men and women to grow up, if painfully, while leaving behind childish illusions.

He starts by countering assumptions that "atheism can only exist as a parasitic rival to theism," or that atheism needs to be nihilistic. If God could be proven to have never existed, he points out, we'd still have had atheists, if not by that name! It encompasses positive views of human potential and commonsensical self-actualization, not merely the naysaying sneers of caricatured malcontents.

He then makes the case for atheism based on experience, observation, and truth claims. Faith by its very definition relies on that not seen. Atheism cannot accept this as evidence of a divine presence. It does not ask us to go against our own reason or what can be measured or grasped. He demolishes Pascal's wager, ontological and cosmological proofs for God, and the appeal to one religion among so many choices as the only true one. If atheists cannot be a 100% sure, this only shows them the necessity to avoid militancy, oppression, or intolerance as they convince by nonjudgmental, non-dogmatic methods.

These tie into ethics, and Baggini steps into Aristotleian, Kantian, existentialist, and utilitarian concepts for much of the middle of his text. This seems perhaps a detour, but Baggini as a philosopher seeks to establish a foundation for morality that does not need a scripture, revelation, or belief as its construction. He then takes up the position that atheism can offer us meaning and purpose. "If we pretend or imagine that life's purpose lies outside living itself, we will be searching the stars for what is underneath our feet all the time." (67)

He looks at the history of atheism. He reminds us that moral people need not believe in the supernatural. Terry Pratchett is cited well: "I think I'm probably an atheist, but rather angry with God for not existing." (70)

Then, he defends a committed, caring atheism against charges that the Communists were such. This does not disprove atheism's truth anymore, he avers, than Hitler disproves the value of vegetarianism. Too severe a distorted application of ideology in whatever cause, Baggini warns, will lead to inhumanity pursued for principles that forget tradition, advance zealotry, and deny human nature's need for liberty and respect.

Finally, he links atheism to the progression of human culture away from innocence as well as ignorance. He examines how evil persists and how theodicy fails to account for this problem. Superstitions are replaced by rational explanations for the forces around us and within us. We learn to live as mature beings within finitude.

I found a few concepts, perhaps due to such compression for this fine Oxford series, that I would have liked to hear more about. Agnosticism's "suspension of belief" Baggini rejects as not accepting the "strong claims" that God does not exist as opposed to the "weak claims" that He may, but this needed more elaboration. He skims over how a bliss-filled afterlife in a non-human-like state might not represent fulfillment, and considering Stephen Batchelor's "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" and "Buddhism Without Beliefs" (see my reviews), I'd be curious about non-theistic approaches that might jibe better than Baggini might think with his own rationalism.

He precedes the bestsellers of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens (see my reviews) by a few years. He takes up Dawkins's evolutionary studies briefly, however. He appeals to a less confrontational stance on non-fundamentalist religion and acknowledges the good that religions do can be separated from their harm, contrary to the more combative approaches taken by many subsequent contenders in the past decade's neo-atheist resurgence.

This is an optimistic, thoughtful work I enjoyed. Baggini succeeds in writing a book that atheists can share with those who wonder about this often misunderstood and feared system of thought. Not belief, but a philosophical, positive humanism that puts people ahead of spirits, and our capacity for living up to our best selves as our goal, freed from fear of torment or punishment from unseen forces. Whatever your own position, this primer challenges you to examine your own suppositions carefully.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great small book - powerful but not militant
Let me just tell what I like especially about this concentrated presentation of arguments for atheism. Baggini always keeps a realistic sight on psychological und social facts. He starts off describing how religious education - though experienced in a moderate and relatively little indoctrinating form - nevertheless succeeded in embedding in his mind a connection of atheism and moral inferiority to stay for ever at least on a half-conscious, emotional level. An experience probably not to unusual and - apart from this - pointing to the general limits of changing convictions by rational argument. Later he demonstrates very convincingly why we shouldn't consider theism and atheism to be just intellectually equal types of faith: "The atheist believes in what she has good reason to believe in and doesn't believe in supernatural entities that there are few reasons to believe in, none of them strong. If this is a faith position then the amount of faith required is extremely small." In chapters on "Atheist ethics" and "Meaning and purpose" the author does away with the prejudice that atheism is just or predominantly negative. Very rewarding in the historical section on atheism is the discussion how far atheism might to be blamed for the crimes of totalitarian leaders and ideologies in the 20th century. Just read the book. It fits in your pocket to be taken everywhere!

1-0 out of 5 stars Horribly sophomoric and inacurate piece of work
As an atheist myself, it's amazing to me that this fellow has a PhD and has written a book which tarnishes this otherwise wonderful "short introduction" series. He starts out giving a completely false definition of atheism, which he could have gleaned from any given dictionary if he had taken the trouble to do so. "A" is a prefix, meaning "not", "non-" or "without", hence a-theism means to not subscribe to theism. 'Nothing more--nothing less. To suggest that atheism means "to believe there is no God or Gods" is like saying that Christianity means "to believe in purgatory". Half truths are false when offered definitively. He goes on to equate the naturalist philosophy with atheism, as if not being a theist has anything to do with any given subscribed to personal philosophy. Anyone who states "Atheists believe..." doesn't know what they're talking about. I personally know atheists that believe in ghosts, astral projection, Nostradamus' predictions and the lost continent of Atlantis, so "atheists believe" pretty much anything under the sun EXCEPT in "gods". Daniel Dennett created the "Brights" precisely because atheism -DOES NOT- means to subscribe to a naturalistic philosophy, which is a fact that Baggini seems amazingly and painfully oblivious of. Then, to make matters worse, he presumes to tell us about "Atheist Ethics", even titling a chapter as such. Oh please, spare us. Spare yourself. Save your money. This is easily the worst book on atheism that I've ever read, and I've read quite a few. Instead, read anything written by Sam Harris, John Allen Polos, Bertrand Russell, etc. As you might have guessed by now, this book isn't really about atheism at all. It's about Baggini's personal views and beliefs sans theism, which is, of course, an entirely different subject matter. ... Read more

14. An Apology for Atheism Addressed to Religious Investigators of Every Denomination by One of Its Apostles
by Charles Southwell
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKTEVC
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

15. The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism
by Patrick Madrid, Kenneth Hensley
Paperback: 255 Pages (2010-06-25)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$9.06
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Asin: 1592767877
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Full-Scale Frontal Assault on New Atheists Stronghold...

"...With remorseless logic, wit, skill, and boundless, joyful enthusiasm, The Godless Delusion lays waste that stronghold, routs the enemy, occupies the high ground for Christ their king, and dares anyone to retake it."
Ronald K. Tacelli, SJ, professor of philosophy, Boston College, co-author of Handbook of Christian Apologetics

In this hard-hitting book, apologetics experts Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley help Christians to wake up to the crisis of godlessness, alerting them to the imperative need to take seriously atheism's challenge, while learning how to effectively engage in today's atheistic debate.

"Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley look at the contradictions of the atheists with themselves, showing that above all, their arguments against God are at embarrassing odds with their own everyday experience and actions, their own deepest assumptions, and their own moral compass."
Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., author of Ten Books that Screwed Up the World and Answering the New Atheism

"The Godless Delusion takes on the new atheism of our times and pulls the rug right out from underneath it. I wholeheartedly recommend this work of apologetics for anyone who is serious about defending our faith in the existence of God."
Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs

"The Godless Delusion is a clear and compelling critique of naturalism and the new atheism that rests upon it. Madrid and Hensley show that the secularist's pose of moral and rational superiority is undermined by his own fundamental philosophical assumptions."
Edward Feser, Ph.D., author of The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Logical and Fascinating Book
I heard Ken Hensley talking about this book on Catholic Answers Live and knew I simply had to get it.

It's a valuable book if you are a Christian with loved ones who are atheist and you find yourself on the topic of God. It can help you find the right words to open a dialogue and ask thought-provoking questions.

Patrick Madrid and Ken Hensley both very knowledgeable, but kind. So, while they clearly point out where atheism lacks logic, they are respectful and not at all hostile.

5-0 out of 5 stars pwned
Hitchens and Dawkins were pwned in nomini patris, et filii, et spiritus sanctus!Atheism is proved false, once again...yawn.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just as I suspected...
Just as I suspected.. This book is a very key tool to keeping ones self armored against the rising tide of "The new world" and all of it's follies. This book hits the nail on the head for the subject of atheism. Being a tactile learner, apologetics helps in a big way to understand other's world-views, so you can properly uphold Christ. In suit, this book was a big help in understanding the (lack of) foundation of atheism...

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but too much name calling
I enjoyed how this book lays out how Atheism is irrational when you take it to its logical ends.I did not appreciate though the many times the authors kept saying "if the new atheism continues to spread our society is doomed!".The name calling and cheap shots were uncalled for.If I were an Atheist I would have set the book down.The first 40 pages aren't even worth reading.Once I got past the first 40 pages though, the authors actually begin to write about what the book should have been about all along; the illogical conclusions of atheism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh, Smart, Engaging, Readable, A Book for the Rest of Us!
Bravo!This is a book that I can really sink my teeth into.No offense to some of the previous reviewers, but I think they miss the fact that this book appears to be written for a general audience, not only for well-read philosophers who engage in hair-splitting.This is a book for the rest of us: housewives, garage mechanics, retail clerks, average lay people who are busy raising families and making ends meet.We don't have the time or the inclination to become proficient at Aquinas, nor have any desire to read Kant or Sartre (much less Dawkins).

This wonderful, well-laid out book has given me knowledge I can use in general conversations.Moreover, it lends itself perfectly to the Socratic method so that I needn't "teach", simply ask a pointed question or two which allows the hearer to draw the obvious conclusion.Logic, my dear fellow!

I thoroughly enjoyed this approach to answering atheism, and the import it can have for me is immediate.The everyday commonsense logic that brims over in this neat little book is easy to understand, practical, and applicable to everyone.Most people (are they even atheists?) I run into have not seriously pursued atheism in philosophy or the sciences, but have absorbed an attitude of non-belief from the surrounding "enlightened" culture.That is not to say it will not work with learned atheists who seriously seek truth.Of course it will!To deny the logical truth that flows out of this work is exactly that: denial.This argument must be considered and dealt with.

In discussing this with my 10 year old son, he immediately drew a correlation to the dwarfs in The Last Battle, CS Lewis' final installment in The Chronicles of Narnia, who, though being in an achingly beautiful paradise, so firmly believe themselves to be in a dark, cramped, smelly stable that they can't see at all, and can only smell dung.As the "believers" try to convince them otherwise, they resist with contempt, even considering a sumptuous feast laid before them as hay and other animal fodder, and choice wine as dirty water that a donkey had drunk from.They then exclaimed, "Well, at any rate there's no Humbug here.We haven't let anyone take us in.The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs."

"You see," said Aslan (The Lord who provided the feast)."They will not let us help them.They have chosen cunning instead of belief.Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out."
... Read more

16. 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

17. Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists
by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Hardcover: 112 Pages (2008-07-25)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$8.72
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Asin: 1433504979
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A leading Christian intellectual explores the newest strainof atheism, its foremost thinkers, the cultural conditions thathave bred it, and how Christians should respond.

Something has changed in American culture. What for years was alittle-regarded belief system-atheism-has now gained a large, andincreasing, national hearing through the writings of "new atheists"such as Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens.

Wanting to both inform and equip serious-minded Christiansregarding this cultural shift, R. Albert Mohler Jr. explores theenvironment that has bred the "new atheism" while also introducingreaders to the movement's four leading thinkers and the contours oftheir arguments. Mohler-deemed "the reigning intellectual of theevangelical movement in the US" by Time magazine-then usesthis foundation to pinpoint eight major distinctives that make thenew atheism new, and to discuss the future of Christianityin relationship to it.

At school and in the community, Christians are sure to encounterpeople who have been shaped by this strain of atheism. Here is keeninsight that any believer can use to understand and challenge thenew atheists.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Simple look at McGrath's defeat of the new atheists by Mohler
this is a very small book and doesn't give the reader enough ammo to get properly armed to fully dislodge agressive atheists from their irrational world view. but idid like it and most people can read it in one or two sittings. the writer is a strong Christian scholar but for a broader and deeper treatment go to other sources.

the author does supply more than a few quotes from the new atheists to make a case for their lack of philosophical understanding. his apologetic is not fully extended as he uses the outline of McGrath's arguments against atheism.

4-0 out of 5 stars Concise Exposition on the New Atheists
Pointed apologetic?
Cogent and concise volume?
You bet.
Clear warning about the New Atheists?
Comprehensive treatise defending Christian theism?
Not really.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. delivers a precise analysis and inspirational call for Christian theists to engage the non-believing dogma of the New Atheists. He exposes the anti-Christian aims of Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins and then refutes their self-smiting assertions and groundless worldview. Dr. Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is considered by CNN, Time Magazine, and Christianity Today as a leading evangelical thinker. Time named him the "reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement."

This breezy page-turner is based upon Mohler's "Griffin Thomas Lectures" given at DTS in 2008 (page 13). Thus this book is succinct, brief, and dynamic. "Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the new Atheists" offers numerous anecdotes which help make this volume a excellent pastoral resource (and other public speakers). Dr. Mohler outlines and adds fine commentary on recent theistic works by McGrath and Plantinga aimed at intellectually rebutting the New Atheism (p.p. 65-87). The author provides a brief overview of the history of atheism and notes that the "word atheism did not appear in the English language until the sixteenth century. The `Oxford Dictionary' documents the first use of the word to 1568, when it was coined ... by Miles Coverdale" (p. 17).

Since all non-Christian thought is anti-theistic Professor Mohler rightly asserts that "it's atheism or biblical theism. There is nothing in between" (p. 108). Additionally: In refuting atheism the real issue "is not metaphysics, but epistemology"(p. 85).

My favorite quote has Dr. Mohler confuting atheism at its rational pre-committments when he argues that Christians need a sustained and credible apologetic that refutes atheism at the "worldview level, including the pre-theological patterns of thought ..." (p. 65).

This little book may not be a broad and extensive refutation of atheism, but it is a good read for the beach or on a plane ride (for a comprehensive answer to atheism see McGrath or the book: God Does Exist!: Defending the faith using presuppositional apologetics, evidence, and the impossibility of the contrary.

3-0 out of 5 stars Short, Quick, Overview
This is a really quick read, definitely a solid book that I would recommend to all Christians. This book brings our attention to the new face of atheism (hence the title the New Atheists). This group has four heads that are basically behind most of it: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. They are after the collapse of theism, especially Christianity, and replacing it with an evolution and naturalism worldview as the only healthy and correct perspective. This is what they (the four gentlemen) feel will bring freedom to humans. Mohler will provide what they believe and why we as Christians must stand opposed and do it well. This is not going to provide much detail in what they believe or in how to stand against in the form of scientific reasoning or data. If you're wanting to find something that provides details upon details this isn't the book.

The only thing lacking from this book is purpose of the gospel in all of it. It will tell you the flaws in the arguments and how to overcome many of the lies that the New Atheists adhere to. The issue is that overcoming these objection and arguments will not save anybody. It can open the door and be a starting point which is what I believe Mohler's objective is. Refuting points and being an intellectual never saves anybody. Still it's a good read, and I would recommend so individuals are at least not ignorant of what is developing amongst many within the world, especially scientific community (not all, just some).

3-0 out of 5 stars Relgion an Atheists
Small book with a lot of information pack in which is thought provoking regarding Religion and how to answer some of the Atheists' commonobjections to Religion.

Nestor Mantilla

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Very Substantial
Albert Mohler's Atheism Remix is divided into four sections.In the first, he examines the history of atheism, from its presence in the Bible ("The fool says in his heart, `There is no God'") to Nietzsche and beyond.He explores how the "conditions of belief" in our world have changed from "impossible not to believe" to "impossible to believe," and how this paves the way for the New Atheists.

The second chapter profiles the "Four Horsemen of the New Atheism," viz., Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, touching on their lives and work.The third chapter examines the responses to these writers by Alister McGrath and Alvin Plantinga, while the final section touches on more liberal responses to the New Atheism.Mohler is dissatisfied to some extent with all of the responses, as even McGrath and Plantinga allow for the possibility of evolution; in the book's last few pages, Mohler asserts that Christians must make a stand for biblical theism, not any accomodationist form of theism that would seek to appease the New Atheists.

The book serves as a decent review of the state of the debate, in that the middle two chapters consist more of long quotations from other authors' work than Mohler's own analysis or argumentation.However, his objection to McGrath's and Plantinga's otherwise cogent arguments is only barely sketched, rather than advanced, and he ultimately fails to make a case that in no form can evolution and God co-exist.In the end, Mohler's work may be a rallying point for conservative evangelicals who share his views, but does little to "confront" the New Atheists--or persuade others of his ideas.
... Read more

18. Atheism: A Reader
Paperback: 346 Pages (2000-11)
list price: US$22.98 -- used & new: US$3.64
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Asin: 1573928550
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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ATHEISM: A READER is a unique anthology that presents for the first time a comprehensive selection of writings on atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism by some of the world's most celebrated thinkers, past and present.Arranged thematically, the essays in this valuable collection cover many of the significant areas in which atheists have questioned religious orthodoxy.The authors eloquently address the most significant questions concerning religious belief: Is belief in God justified?Is religion necessary to live a moral life?What is the role of religion in the political arena?Should religion be taught in schools?How harmful has religion been in the suppression of women's rights, the subversion of clear thinking, and the advancement of science?

Included are essays by Bertrand Russell and A.J. Ayer on the existence of God; Percy Bysshe Shelley on the "argument from design"; John Stuart Mill and Antony Flew on immortality and life after death; David Hume and George Eliot on the dangers of fanaticism, superstition, and religious fundamentalism; Charles Darwin on how his scientific studies led him to discard his religious beliefs; H.L. Mencken on the 1925 Scopes trial; Carl Sagan on demons and the persecution of witches; Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Christianity's demeaning influence on women's social status; Robert Ingersoll on God and the constitution; Gore Vidal on modern American fundamentalism; and many other notable writers on controversial issues.

Editor S.T. Joshi has carefully selected these essays, many of which are landmarks in the history of atheistic thought.He has also supplied explanatory annotations and a comprehensive introduction that succinctly and forcefully summarizes the atheist critique of religion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Deja Vu All Over Again
Turn on tv, flick a dial, or pick up a newspaper, and chances are a pitchman for religion will soon pop up. After all, nothing sells like eternal bliss and the right hand of God. Not even Wal Mart's Blue Light Special nor the latest installment of Harry Potter can compete with the likes of hellfire and eternity. But many of these folks are no longer content with money-grubbing and tax-exemptions, now they want Congress and the First Amendment. Atheists especially need to be intellectually armed to confront this latest menace from the legions of revived medievalism.

As an intellectual source, the book is not particularly effective. There's very little theology, with only a cursory section on God proofs, while the articles themselves are too brief to provide much sustained reasoning. Nonetheless, the collection does succeed as a sampler of unbelief over the centuries, with the inclusion of both well-known names (Nietzsche, Paine, Sagan), plus some not so well-known (Lovecraft, Lecky). Critics could certainly second guess the quality of some excerpts, (On the key issue of evangelism, we get a long flowery essay from George Eliot that may be of historical and literary merit, but contains little of analytic value). The collection's main asset, in my view, lies in reacquainting a new generation with such classic debunkers of popular religion as Bradlaugh, Darrow, and above all, Robert Ingersoll. Call them propagandists, if you will, but few did more to expose the hypocracies and absurdities of the revival tent, and at a time when bible-belters had a strangle hold on law and popular culture. These titans managed to translate the esoterica of abstract reasoning into the effects on everyday life that ordinary people could understand and think about. Many of the improved artistic and intellectual freedoms of today are owed in part to the fearlessness of such largely forgotten names.

All in all, those readers looking for a cross-section of unbelief over the centuries, should find Joshi's collection works nicely; however, those looking for depth on one or more issues surrounding religious belief should follow up on the samplings.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kindred spirits
If you're an atheist, this book is a wonderful resource, full of good friends. The selection seems strong and many selections are 10 pages long or less, so you can get acquainted with many atheists. Most wrote during the last 3 centuries.

Discussion with a theist about God seems a waste of time, so I am sympathetic to Joshi's introduction. Theists indeed do seem "incapable of comprehending the issues at stake", as Joshi maintains. I attended a meeting of a local atheist group recently. The meeting was open to all, so there were fruitless debates with a die-hard fundamentalist. A so-called "atheist" viewed everyone's position as relative and wanted to encourage further theist-atheist meetings. But in this book an atheist can feel at home with just atheists. And if you're not atheist, but open to understanding atheist views, Josh's collection is a great way to start, with outstanding atheist writers like Emma Goldman, Bertrand Russell, Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Kaufmann, H.P. Lovecraft, and Gore Vidal.

Avoid this book if you are a theist and wish to remain so. The thinkers in here are among the human race's best and might possibly reach even you.

This would make a good collection to any atheist's library, with a broad range of powerful statements to choose from on even the rainiest day.

2-0 out of 5 stars Intro =1 star, Writings=3 stars:The Intro is that Bad!
S.T. Joshi's book is a text built on the selected writings of mostly famous atheists (while some writers would self identify as agnostics, as well as probably one diest and one non-church Chritsian).There are always inherent problems with selected writings in that articles or essays are most often taken away from the larger texts in which they were written - this tends to only superficially highlight certain ideas and arguements are not as solid as they could or should be.

The selected writings themselves would warrant three stars.They are a fair selection showing a diverse perspective on issues relating to atheism aganist theism in general and Christianity in particular.No one essay is exceptional as arguments go, but there are a couple of decent ones.Anthoy Flew, a gaint in atheistic philosphy and a bona fide philospher, presents a primer essay on immortality (the best essay in this section of the book). Darrow's essay against "Lord Day" laws is also a fine essay written with precision and skill.

There are, however, many other essays that are just too small and removed from the larger body of work that the points are not really either well established are in proper context (David Hume in particular) or many are just downright atheistic propaganda (Mencken, Ingersoll, and Vidal are the obvious suspects here).

As with the arguemnts presented in the selected writings there are valid agruments in the refutation of each position from many philosphers who are theists (in particular Christians).I would recommend that anyone who reads this book read the larger works of some of these people, especially those who are most influencial in the realm of atheistic arguements such as Bertrand Russell, Anthony Flew, Friedrich Nietzsche, and John Stuart Mill. Further, one should read David Hume whom I would not classify as an atheists - most Hume scholars tend to think at best he was an agnostic and probably a deists.His writings, though not often consistent (miracle/physical world debate) are the standard for many atheistic positions.

The introduction is worth one star.It is so rought with straw men, silly attacks, and distortions that one wonders what Joshi was trying to do.He uses many of the straw men famous by many atheists that it is tiresome.Amoung many are the science (evolution and big bang) topic that he completely, and I assert intentially, misunderstands and therefore mis-represents (I say intentially because Joshi is not a dumb man and therefore I think he must choose to misunderstand).It is so overly polemic that some good points he does make like the "way of life" and "morality" assertions are easily forgotten in a mire of much rambling speech.

I would encourage all, atheists and theists alike to read better works on the subject by atheists or agnostics.Two good primers (although I disagree with them)are "The Atheist's Debater Handbook" and "the Case Against God"Primary source writings by Hume and Mill are also good places to start.Joshi's other book "God's Defenders" is much like his introduction here, mire talk with little substance.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent Selection of Writings on Religion
This book is not going to be the end all and be all of arguments on the Atheism/Theism debate, but it does give a breif overview of readings which deal with the subject.There are essays from a whole slew of great minds in here such as Bertrand Russel, Friederich Nietzche, Spinoza, Darwin, Huxley, Hume, and John Stuart Mill but it must be remembered that these are "sound bites."If you want the real arguments, it's probably best to look elsewhere.

The one notable, and maybe I should say dissapointing aspect of this book, is the introduction which reeks of elitism and intolerance.I can understand that Joshi (the editor) is an atheist and feels pretty strongly about it.Instead of offering an essay filled with reason (which he praises), he immediately goes on the offensive and insults the mass of humanity as "unable to conduct a course of logical reasoning on [religious faith](or any other matter)...(pg.10)"Sorry, S.T., but there have been many people in the history of humanity who were Theists and were capable of logical reasoning (take obvious examples like Descartes, Newton, Liebniz, Occam, Keppler, and even Darwin who started off as a Catholic - obviously their religious faith faith did not hinder their ability to conduct a course of logical reasoning.Insisting otherwise makes it very easy for others to dismiss the person as full of hot air.

The intro just gets more militant from there and I have to admit that I was a little offended by the *closemindedness* of the editor (and I accept that the atheist/agnostic/deist views are more logical than typical Christian/Muslim apologetics).As a fellow freethinker I don't believe it's a good tactic to simply insult those who disagree with you on the matter of whether God exists or not(the matter still draws good arguments from both sides.Serious scholars argue both sides, so it's hardly an issue where a "volume like this should not be necessary" (as the editor so boldly asserts in the first sentence).People should question *all* sides and Joshi's refusal to even accept possible reasons for Theism is the same type of emotional closemindedness he accuses Theists of having on the issue. So why should I bother to take his accusations of hypocrisy by religionists seriously when he engages in it himself?

It's a pity because most of the thinkers he's selected for this work are far from the dogmatic fundamentalist that the editor shows that he is. In the end, the essays are solid but short.There's a lot here to think about.The editor, however, could have dedicated the 15 pages for his introduction to another selection based on reason instead of preaching a sermon which could make an evangelical preacher blush.

3-0 out of 5 stars It depends on what you're looking for...
If you're looking for an anthology of popular and semi-scholarly works on atheism written over the last few hundred years, then this may be worth your money.On the other hand, if you're looking for the best-argued case for atheism available, then spend your money elsewhere (e.g., Michael Martin's, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, is much more thorough and rigorous).Although at some point I may use this as a supplemental text for a philosophy class on theism and atheism to give my students a taste of the history of atheism (while using selections from, say, Leibniz, Aquinas, and Anselm for the theistic side), I currently only use these essays as examples of either poor logic (e.g. Paine) or of arguments for atheism that have already been refuted. In short, this work is of historical value but it will not offer much to those who've kept up with analytic philosophy of religion in the past 30 or so years. ... Read more

19. 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

20. 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

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