Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
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The case for atheism 3. Atheist ethics 4. Meanin This is an excellent book on atheism and humanism, exploring atheism and related issues from the arguments for that cause to morals, and the meaning of life. Meaning and purpose 5. Atheism in history 6. Against religion? Conclusion Ant it ends - as usual with this good series V. It's a wonderful book: short, deep, logical, well reasoned, but very tolerant, humanistic and open-minded.
Jul 01, Rick Sam rated it really liked it Shelves: history , philosophy. As a follower of Christ, I think, the book is well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed the style of writing. If you have not read about Atheism, I'd recommend this introductory. A better book on Atheism would be by J. L Mackie, "Miracle of Theism. The arguments in the book are good for a short introduction, whether Theist or Atheist, should read and be informed. Deus Vult Gottfried.
Sep 02, Xiaoqing Wang rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , philosophy. It's a succinct read so far, brings new insight of atheism to me. I am quite convinced by the author that morality doesn't call for a deity existence, but oddly I find myself more favorable of agnosticism after reading this book.
Atheism : a very short introduction
Will add more comments after I finish it. Jun 01, Mel rated it it was amazing. A balanced and succinct introduction to atheism. A good, quick read. A dry read and not the easy to share with religious family members type of book that I had originally hoped for but not bad overall. Jul 17, Nicole rated it it was amazing. Concise, simple arguments about atheism's virtues and the logical fallacies associated with faith. Jul 22, Andrew marked it as to-read Shelves: philosophy. I'm a card carrying atheist, so it should come as no surprise that I feel validated by a book that sketches out well-reasoned responses to the most common objections to atheism.
The first chapter locates atheism within the philosophical traditions of naturalism and physicalism. It also shows that despite the etymology of the term, atheism does not rely on any religion to exist. Atheists would believe what they do due to their firmly established philosophical underpinnings , whether or not any r I'm a card carrying atheist, so it should come as no surprise that I feel validated by a book that sketches out well-reasoned responses to the most common objections to atheism. Atheists would believe what they do due to their firmly established philosophical underpinnings , whether or not any religions existed.
The second chapter attempts to dismiss many of the arguments against atheism. I suspect this chapter will be a hard slog for any non-academic. It's entirely couched within a framework and discussion about the nature of argumentation and direct and indirect evidence. I found it a little hard going in places and I've read a fair amount of philosophy. The ultimate point of the chapter is that while atheists might not have explanations for everything, they base their conclusion in evidence, and for all examples of emergent explanations for unexplained things, we see natural explanations rather than supernatural ones.
The next two chapters address two of the most common attacks on atheism that one hears from the religious. The first is that atheism entails a lack of morals. Baggini spills a fair amount of ink showing that even under most religious belief-sets the notion of goodness and the notion of God are distinct, so there is no particular reason that people without a god can't be moral. More frightening to me is the theist belief that we behave ethically in fear of punish in this life or the next. This strikes me as deeply wrong. We behave well because that's how we want to be treated.
In this way, atheists are forced to reason and construct their own moral codes, which means that they hold to them more exactly and more consistently.
Those moral codes passed down from religion seem to me to be the ones that are least likely to be held to take for example all the amorality of many on the Christian right with respect to basic human rights. The other issue is that a life without God is a life without purpose. What's mysterious about this claim is that most people can't tell you what that purpose is. Atheists find self-determined purpose more fulfilling and probably ultimately better for both the self and the community. Evil is the focus of the chapter on the history of atheism.
Baggini attacks head on the idea that atheism was the underlying cause of the evils of European Fascism and totalitarian communism. In the case of fascism, the facts simply don't add up. All the European fascist movements were populated by people with either deep ties to conservative churches to to people with profound ties to supernaturalism.
Both positions incompatible with atheism. This is confirmed by the fact that modern neo-fascist movements are all tied to extremist Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim conservative groups. The case of totalitarian communism is far trickery. Here we did indeed have states like the USSR, which were programmatically atheist and simultaneously committed many acts of evil. Baggin claims however that these facts are not connected. Chapter 6 brings together many nagging issues that bothered me as I read the rest of the book.
First we have the nature of God as an explanation. One of the reasons that I'm a lifelong atheist is the typical lay argument for GOf. I've always found this argument stunningly stupid, because while God might explain the existence of the universe, one is left with the even deep mystery of why god exists. Utterly incoherent. Baggini provides similar dismissals of ontological and teleological arguments for religion, but at the heart of the chapter is an acknowledgement the greatest conceptual divide between Atheists and theists: the role of faith.
I once heard the televangelist Joyce Meyers say "Stop all this thinking, just believe". As an intellectual I find this kind of anti-intellectualism just a bit disgusting, but it is the source of one of the biggest problems with this book. The book consists of well-reasoned and well thought out arguments both for atheism and against religion, but if the reader is uninterested in reason, then they are unlikely to be convinced!
Baggini acknowledges this fact on page 98 "If this [AC: Faith] is the gourd of religious belief then it is disingenuous for believers to put forward arguments to support their beliefs. Similarly it is futile for atheists to attack the religious with arguments undermining their reasons for belief if they are not genuine reasons for belief at all.
Ultimately, I suspect that the book will be of the most use to people like myself, who are already convinced that their atheism is the root of their morality and guides the way they lead their lives. Jul 12, Hairuo rated it it was amazing Shelves: atheism. A very short and clear introduction to atheism.
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Jan 26, Dan rated it liked it. This book provides a brief outline of the naturalistic outlook of atheists. The author is careful to not identify himself as a militant atheist. Baggini admits "I have a strong feeling that my arguments are powerless in the face of a strong desire for or belief in life after death. They have made up their mind and there is no going back to reevaluate now. It would be too dangerou This book provides a brief outline of the naturalistic outlook of atheists.
It would be too dangerous to do so. Baggini points out that religion is a "human construct that does not correspond to any metaphysical reality. Perhaps a good way of evaluating your own independence of mind is to compare your worldview with that of your father's. If you find your outlook is much like that of your father's, that could be an indication that you have been unduly influenced by your parents.
The seed doesn't fall far from the tree, as the old saying goes. A lot of it has to do with the accident of birth -- where you were born and when you were born. These are factor over which no one has any choice.
A few more quotes from the book: "Religion encourages us to seek rewards in the illusory next world rather than in this one and therefore robs people of the motive to make the most of the only life they have. Jan 22, David Msomba rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy , atheism-humanism , favorites. Great Introduction to Atheism What I love the most about this book,Is the Author's approach on the famous Philosophical arguments that tend to support atheism,like Meaning of life or Morality,because wasn't your daily typical answers that average atheist would have given you Also the author presented a brilliant argument about the differences between Secularism and Atheistic States and reason why the argument of the atrocities committed by Nazi,Stalin,Mao or Pol Pot don't fit int Brilliant!!!
Highly recommended Oct 21, Venkat Pedapati rated it it was amazing. This is brilliantly written book in such a short amount of space. Arguments are concise, yet intriguing. Any reasonable person would enjoy these cleverly formed arguments, theist or atheist. A must read for intellectually hungry people. This book also touches on fundamental philosophical issues such as meaning in life etc. Sep 25, Douglas Reedy rated it it was ok. As a Christian, I knew that I was going to have some trouble reading this book.
But I thought that I might get a better understanding of how and why an atheist thinks the way that they do. This book was more of just putting Christianity down. Making fun of Christians and tbeir beliefs is NOT how to make a good argument for your side. Sep 29, Mitch Flitcroft rated it it was amazing. A clear, concise and compelling introduction to atheism. The first 40 pages lay a strong case for atheism, leading to a discussion of atheist ethics, purpose and history. A quick and easy read for anybody interested in atheism, believers and nonbelievers alike.
The topic absolutely fascinates me, but it's hard to find a book on the topic that doesn't a talk down to you if you happen to believe in God b state atheism as simply against organized religion. Not believing in organized religion is NOT not believing in God. Baggini write this perfectly. Feb 21, Jimmy rated it it was amazing.
A concise, thoughtful, and, in my view, even-handed defense of a positive, progressive atheism. Oct 20, Alan rated it it was amazing. Useful positive look at why to be an Atheist. Aug 12, Eric Lopez rated it really liked it. Very challenging read. I recommend for those who are looking for a hard case for atheism. May 28, Jacob Bowes rated it really liked it. Despite being a short book, Baggini develops great arguments for atheism that I can agree with at times and at least respect when I don't.
This was a thought provoking book and I enjoy being questioned on my beliefs in such a mature manner. I would like to point out that this book does not argue for atheism by criticizing religion, but by highlighting the positive accepts of atheism and dismantling the main arguments against it. A well writing book and I look forward to reading other books in th Despite being a short book, Baggini develops great arguments for atheism that I can agree with at times and at least respect when I don't.
A well writing book and I look forward to reading other books in this series. Apr 19, bks rated it really liked it. A good defend on atheism, its morality, meaning and purposes. Dec 03, Lawrence Chen rated it really liked it. Terrific book to defy those god believer. Jan 16, Matthew Lloyd rated it really liked it Shelves: atheism-non-fiction , non-fiction , history , academic. I first realised I was an atheist in I read many online articles about atheism and thought about a great many things, particularly how far I identify as an 'atheist' I only put it as my religious view on Facebook after seeing that a younger cousin had and feeling an un I first realised I was an atheist in I read many online articles about atheism and thought about a great many things, particularly how far I identify as an 'atheist' I only put it as my religious view on Facebook after seeing that a younger cousin had and feeling an undue level of respect for that and how active my atheism should be.
After eight years, however, I finally decided to start giving my atheism some shape. As it's been quite a long time and I've done a lot of thinking, there was very little in this book which was entirely new to me - it is, after all, a very short introduction. The chapters on atheis ethics and meaning and purpose offered an intellectual framework which I largely already knew, as did the case for atheism; however, the latter does give a good argument against agnosticism, which I thoroughly enjoyed as an atheist who sees no reason to even suppose that there would or could be a god.
One could perhaps accuse Baggini of being flippant with some of his criticisms of religion and atheist viewpoints with which he disagrees, but it is far from offensive, and given his stated aim of providing a positive case for atheism, I think he succeeds tremendously and I would probably use this book as a basic introduction to my lack of beliefs. The chapter I found by far the most interesting was the penultimate one, "Against religion? Most believers base their faith on inner convictions which most atheists do not share and which are rarely effected by rational arguments - the only omission is that Baggini does not explain from whence this conviction comes.
It is best summed up by his concluding statement: "Religion will recede not by atheists shouting condemnation but by the quiet voice of reason slowly making itself heard. I think that there is an important role for atheists in supporting religious dissenters who wish to expose the abuses of the power religious institutions commit, in supporting without judgement apostates and those with faith who wish to escape the violence and oppression of some religious institutions. Baggini does not cover this. But his book is still a good place to start. Aug 27, Mostafa Saad rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy.
I can not describe the large and deep impact this book has done -and will do maybe- regarding me, my thoughts and attitude towards atheism and atheists.. Such a great, fantastic book.. So so well organized with rational arguments and quiet words. A nice, simple way of writing, easy-to-understand for non-native English speakers. It is formed of a short preface, 7 chapters constituting the main bulk, few pages for references and further reading, then an index. Simply: t I can not describe the large and deep impact this book has done -and will do maybe- regarding me, my thoughts and attitude towards atheism and atheists..
Simply: the believe that there is no God or Gods. It is not crude Physicalism. It does not contradict morals at all. It is a positive attitude not just parasitic one on Religion. Also; Atheism has a realistic look for life, no God to look after us.. In contrast to faith positions, it does not require us to believe in anything which goes beyond reason or evidence, or indeed in anything which is contrary to them. There are 3 approaches -with no need for religion - to determine morals: 1-what is required to help our own lives and the lives of others flourish.
Then he says that atheism is not just pure "Hedonism". He speaks about "Death" as the final full stop that makes life meaningful. Bhikhu Parekh. Henry Chadwick. Anthony Stevens. Continental Philosophy. Shakespeare [n 1]. William Shakespeare [n 1]. Michael Howard. The Russian Revolution. Timothy Gowers.
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