For thousands of years, the faithful have honed proselytizing strategies and talked people into believing the truth of one holy book or another. Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith—and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, A Manual for Creating Atheists offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith—but for talking them out of it. Peter Boghossian draws on the tools he has developed and used for more than 20 years as a philosopher and educator to teach how to engage the faithful in conversations that will help them value reason and rationality, cast doubt on their religious beliefs, mistrust their faith, abandon superstition and irrationality, and ultimately embrace reason.
For thousands of years, the faithful have honed proselytizing strategies and talked people into believing the truth of one holy book or another. Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith--and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, A Manual for Creating Atheists offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith--but for talking them out of it. Peter Boghossian draws on the tools he has developed and used for more than twenty years as a philosopher and educator to teach how to engage the faithful in conversations that will help them value critical thinking, cast doubt on their religious beliefs, mistrust their faith, abandon superstition and irrationality, and ultimately embrace rationality and reason.
Drawing on tools developed by the author, shows readers how to engage the faithful into conversations that lead them to value reason and rationality over their religious beliefs.
A call to action to address people's psychological and social motives for a belief in God, rather than debate the existence of God With every argument for theism long since discredited, the result is that atheism has become little more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. Thus, engaging in interminable debate with religious believers about the existence of God has become exactly the wrong way for nonbelievers to try to deal with misguided—and often dangerous—belief in a higher power. The key, author James Lindsay argues, is to stop that particular conversation. He demonstrates that whenever people say they believe in "God," they are really telling us that they have certain psychological and social needs that they do not know how to meet. Lindsay then provides more productive avenues of discussion and action. Once nonbelievers understand this simple point, and drop the very label of atheist, will they be able to change the way we all think about, talk about, and act upon the troublesome notion called "God."
One of the very few parenting books written specifically for the 1 in 5 Americans who lack a belief in God Parenting Without God is for parents who lack belief in a god and who are seeking guidance on raising freethinkers in a Christian-dominated nation. It will help parents give their children the tools to stand up to attempts at religious proselytization, whether by teachers, coaches, friends, or even other family members. It also offers advice on teaching children to question what others tell them and to reach their own conclusions based on evidence and reason. Above all, the book argues that parents should lead by example—both by speaking candidly about the importance of secularism and by living an openly secular life.
From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a deeply moving meditation on how we can still benefit, without believing, from the wisdom, the beauty, and the consolatory power that religion has to offer. Alain de Botton was brought up in a committedly atheistic household, and though he was powerfully swayed by his parents' views, he underwent, in his mid-twenties, a crisis of faithlessness. His feelings of doubt about atheism had their origins in listening to Bach's cantatas, were further developed in the presence of certain Bellini Madonnas, and became overwhelming with an introduction to Zen architecture. However, it was not until his father's death -- buried under a Hebrew headstone in a Jewish cemetery because he had intriguingly omitted to make more secular arrangements -- that Alain began to face the full degree of his ambivalence regarding the views of religion that he had dutifully accepted. Why are we presented with the curious choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle and effective rituals and practices for which there is no equivalent in secular society? Why do we bristle at the mention of the word "morality"? Flee from the idea that art should be uplifting, or have an ethical purpose? Why don't we build temples? What mechanisms do we have for expressing gratitude? The challenge that de Botton addresses in his book: how to separate ideas and practices from the religious institutions that have laid claim to them. In Religion for Atheists is an argument to free our soul-related needs from the particular influence of religions, even if it is, paradoxically, the study of religion that will allow us to rediscover and rearticulate those needs. From the Hardcover edition.
In this riotous, globetrotting sequel to The Story of God, the universe's premier antihero, God, returns, as lonely, misguided, angry, and troubled as ever. Regretting many of the decisions he made in his debut book, and wrestling with his continued ambivalence to both his son(s) Jesus and his frenemy Satan, God decides to set things right with creation—again. But this time, he asks, why stick around the dusty Land of Israel or a decaying heaven when there's a much bigger world to explore—and countless others out there just waiting to love and praise him? And why work with the same tired old prophets, when there are much better candidates for the job? Journeying from the sands of Arabia to the hills of Utah to the stars of Southern California, God works to set his message—and record—straight. But with each new book he commissions, the same old questions, demons, and troubles remain. Forever haunted, he decides to do away with creation once and for all...or wait, maybe just apologize? Returning to where it all began, God makes one final judgment, with the fate of the universe—and himself—hanging in the balance.
This book is not just for atheists but for antitheists—for people who celebrated the writing of Christopher Hitchens and miss his voice Making the provocative assertion that the entire enterprise of organized religion is a thing for which the world and our species would have been better without, Oh, Your God! follows in the footsteps of the material observations of Lucretius, Epicurus, and Democritus and the more recent antitheistic arguments of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. Drawing from timeless philosophers, modern debates, historical events, and current social climes, Joshua Kelly illustrates the shameful and debilitating damage religion has caused—and continues to cause—whether to our psyches, our bodies, our societies, or our world. Citing the murders of Nigeria's "witch children," the subversion of sexual emancipation, the tethers of slavery, the attacks of September 11, the pseudomorality of monotheistic mythology, the subjugation of women, and much more, he provides an abundance of damning evidence to back up his claims. Only by acknowledging and grappling with the real and potential dangers of religion, he argues, will we be able to thrive and develop as a species.
Written in a respectful and conversational style, this unique book is designed to promote constructive dialogue and foster mutual understanding between Christians and non-Christians. The author, a skeptic and journalist, asks basic questions about Christian belief. What is the born-again experience? Why would God want to sacrifice his only son for the world? Do miracles really happen? How reliable is the Bible? What is the rapture? Why isn't everyone a Christian? Each question is followed by commentary and analysis that is skeptical and tough but never argumentative or condescending. Christians will find the book useful as a basis for developing their apologetics, while skeptics will welcome Harrison's probing rational analysis of religious claims. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Nearly a third of Americans under the age of thirty have no religious affiliation, the highest in any recorded generation. In this growing segment of "nones" are many young Atheists who have faced prejudice in their high schools and communities for standing up for their constitutional right of freedom from religion. You'll hear some of their stories in this book, whether they're protesting their school's public prayers at football games and graduations or sitting out the "under God" portion of the Pledge of Allegiance. These atheist students know their rights and have fought for them, sometimes at tremendous personal cost. Their examples serve as inspiration for all the young atheists out there who live in communities where school often feels no different from church and teachers are no different from preachers. This handbook is a resource for parents, teachers, friends, and young atheists themselves. Hemant Mehta, "The Friendly Atheist" blogger at patheos.com, discusses how to deal with teachers and administrators who promote faith in public schools, handle the peer pressure and ostracism that may come with being an outspoken atheist, and create successful student groups that encourage conversation over conversion.
A number of authors have noted that if some physical parameters were slightly changed, the universe could no longer support life, as we know it. This implies that life depends sensitively on the physics of our universe. Does this "fine-tuning" of the universe suggest that a creator god intentionally calibrated the initial conditions of the universe such that life on earth and the evolution of humanity would eventually emerge? In his in-depth and highly accessible discussion of this fascinating and controversial topic, the author looks at the evidence and comes to the opposite conclusion. He finds that the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God, they provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that God does not exist.
The author presents a memoir of his personal struggle and transformation from Christian to atheist along with his perspectives on Christian thought and beliefs.
For about two decades John W. Loftus was a devout evangelical Christian, an ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and an ardent apologist for Christianity. With three degrees--in philosophy, theology, and philosophy of religion--he was adept at using rational argumentation to defend the faith. But over the years, doubts about the credibility of key Christian tenets began to creep into his thinking. By the late 1990s he experienced a full-blown crisis of faith. In this honest appraisal of his journey from believer to atheist, the author carefully explains the experiences and the reasoning process that led him to reject religious belief. The original edition of this book was published in 2006 and reissued in 2008. Since that time, Loftus has received a good deal of critical feedback from Christians and skeptics alike. In this revised and expanded edition, the author addresses criticisms of the original, adds new argumentation and references, and refines his presentation. For every issue he succinctly summarizes the various points of view and provides references for further reading. In conclusion, he describes the implications of life without belief in God, some liberating, some sobering. This frank critique of Christian belief from a former insider will interest freethinkers as well as anyone with doubts about the claims of religion. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Is a life without religion one without values or purpose? Julian Baggini emphatically says no. He sets out to dispel the myths surrounding atheism and to show how it can be both a meaningful and moral choice. He directly confronts the failure of officially atheist states in the twentieth century, and presents an intellectual case for atheism that rests as much on reasoned and positive arguments for its truth as on negative arguments against religion.
The first book on Christian apologetics written by a leading atheist figure that teaches Christians the best and worst arguments for defending their faith against attack The Christian faith has been vigorously defended with a variety of philosophical, historical, and theological arguments, but many of the arguments used in an earlier age no longer resonate in today's educated West. Where has apologetics gone wrong? What is the best response to the growing challenge presented by scientific discovery and naturalistic thought? Unlike every work on Christian apologetics that has come before, How to Defend the Christian Faith is the first one written by an atheist for Christians. As a former Christian defender who is now a leading atheist thinker, John Loftus answers these questions and more. He tells would-be apologists how to train properly, where to study, what to study, what issues they should concern themselves with, and how poorly the professors who currently train them practice their craft. In the process, he shows readers why Christian apologists have failed to reach the intelligent nonbeliever. For those Christian apologists who think this book will provide a secret formula to convert the nonbelieving masses, be warned: as an exposé of the present state of Christian aplogetics, it can just as easily be used by atheists to refute apologetic arguments. Thus, this book presents both an opportunity and a challenge to Christians: they must either change how apologetics is done, or quit doing apologetics altogether.
Fostering mutual understanding by viewing religion from an outsider perspective Depending on how one defines religion, there are at least thousands of religions in the world. Given such religious diversity, how can any one religion claim to know the truth? Nothing proposed so far has helped us settle which of these religions, if any, are true--until now. Author John W. Loftus, a former minister turned atheist, argues we would all be better off if we viewed any religion--including our own--from the informed skepticism of an outsider, a nonbeliever. For this reason he has devised "the outsider test for faith." He describes it as a variation on the Golden Rule: "Do unto your own faith what you do to other faiths." Essentially, this means applying the same skepticism to our own beliefs as we do to the beliefs of other faiths. Loftus notes that research from psychology, anthropology, sociology, and neuroscience goes a long way toward explaining why the human race has produced so many belief systems, why religion is culturally dependent, and how religion evolved in the first place. It's important that people understand these findings to escape the dangerous delusion that any one religion represents the only truth. At a time when the vast diversity of human belief systems is accessible to all, the outsider test for faith offers a rational means for fostering mutual understanding. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Like all people, atheists contemplate issues of love, death, and morality, and in times of stress we long for solace and inspiration. A collection of uplifting quotations from some of mankind’s most important philosophers, scientists, writers, and even comedians, THE INSPIRATIONAL ATHEIST will be a treasured daily companion for the growing demographic of humanists who believe that life has meaning when we live it meaningfully, independent of the existence of a higher power. With words from Carl Sagan, D. H. Lawrence, Julia Child, Douglas Adams, Charlotte Bronte, Bertrand Russell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Carlin, Joan Didion, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Thomas Jefferson and dozens of others on topics ranging from Love and Nature to Wisdom and Beauty, this book is a celebration of the sublime without the divine.
In this groundbreaking volume, J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., MD, with Clare Aukofer, offers a succinct yet comprehensive study of how and why the human mind generates religious belief. Dr. Thomson, a highly respected practicing psychiatrist with credentials in forensic psychiatry and evolutionary psychology, methodically investigates the components and causes of religious belief in the same way any scientist would investigate the movement of astronomical bodies or the evolution of life over time—that is, as a purely natural phenomenon. Providing compelling evidence from psychology, the cognitive neurosciences, and related fields, he, with Ms. Aukofer, presents an easily accessible and exceptionally convincing case that god(s) were created by man—not vice versa. With this slim volume, Dr. Thomson establishes himself as a must-read thinker and leading voice on the primacy of reason and science over superstition and religion.
Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his book, Silverman-a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News-discusses the effectiveness, ethics and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent. Silverman argues that religion is more than just wrong: it is malevolent and does not deserve our respect. It is our duty to be outspoken and do what we can to bring religion down. Examining the mentality, methods and issues facing the firebrand atheist, Silverman presents an overwhelming argument for firebrand atheism and reveals: - All religion is cafeteria religion and almost all agnostics are atheists. - American society grants religion a privileged status, despite the intentions of the Founding Fathers. - Christian politicians have adversely (and un-Constitutionally) affected our society with regard to science, health, women's rights, and gay rights. - The notion of "atheist Jews" is a lie forced on us by religion. - It is not "Islamophobia" to observe dangerous teachings and disproportionate violence in Islam. - Atheists are slowly but surely winning the battle. Fighting God is a provocative, unapologetic book that takes religion to task and will give inspiration to non-believers and serve as the ultimate answer to apologists.
This essential guide to coming-out as a non-believer has been written to make it easier for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and non-believers of all ages and backgrounds to be open about their non-religiosity while minimizing the negative interactions in familial, social, and professional circles. As a survival guide for non-believers who wish to come out, this book provides advice and resources for those interested in publically rejecting religious dogma as well as real stories from non-believers who have experienced coming-out to less-than-supportive family or friends. Whether you're new to disbelief and looking for the cleanest possible break from your former faith or you're a lifelong atheist who wants to establish a sense of community with like-minded people, this guide provides useful resources including: tips for handling potential conflicts with believers, the author's answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on behalf of believers, and numerous references to support groups, services, and advocacy organizations dedicated to non-theists. From dealing with grief from a secular perspective to handling potential clashes in religious worldviews between significant others, this book offers multiple perspectives from non-religious individuals who have generously shared their experiences to help those atheists who may find themselves in similar situations.