The Happy Heretic
On March 18, 2009 At 6:30 am
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"When people ask me why I write what I write I usually answer, 'To nudge people.' This is literally the truth. I try to nudge people into thinking about things they might otherwise never give a passing thought to. I try to make it easier for them to do so by using satire, vivid imagery, and a sprinkling of merry nonsense."
Judith Hayes, the Erma Bombeck of the secular humanist community, has the unique ability to raise serious points while making us laugh as she throws buckets of cold water on the irrational beliefs and maddening inconsistencies that often characterize popular religion. She's at her best when recounting modern-day "miracles" such as the apparition of the Virgin Mary's face in a waffle at a Fresno diner; or when she describes how she started rubbing a stuffed penguin whenever she had the urge to pray, and got the same results. But there are also poignant stories about believing friends and acquaintances whose struggles with irrational beliefs in the face of perplexing dilemmas and personal tragedies are in many cases heartrending. She also devotes a chapter to explaining in clear, concise, layperson's terms exactly what humanism is and stands for, in particular extolling its tolerance. By turns funny, provocative, and touching, Judith Hayes is the perfect popular spokesperson for clear thinking and reason.
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars The Happy Heretic is Hilarious!
Judith Hayes will have you laughing out loud. She has a way of making people think about whether blind faith should over-ride rational thinking. She writes in a way where everyone can understand. A lot of the books out there about religion or spirituality are just for religious studies scholars…not this one. Everyone will enjoy her sense of humor.
author of Spiritual Clarity
4 Stars The Happy Heretic
Finally! A female writer to join the so-called Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris! Except Judith Hayes is a writer anyone can appreciate. Not deadly dull like the others, Hayes writes with humor and intelligence without making you want to doze off. I could not put it down. I don't know why I haven't found this book before. Someone told me her site with the same name as the book is back up now and that's how I found this book. Anyway, if you have an interest in religion or atheism or both, and you don't want a book for the nightstand that will serve as a sleeping pill, The Happy Heretic is it!
3 Stars Divine Comedy
If you are tired (as I am) of all the angry, disgruntled, griping folks who spout their non-convictions to any and all then this is the book for you. We're not talking Dawkins, Dennet, Sam, Hitchins or even writers like Crossin or Wells. We're talking fun – or at least a version of it!
There is an inherent conflict between humor and personal faith. For both sides of the aisle it is no laughing matter. The author sets out to battle the stereotypical view of atheists (see first sentence) noting that some of her fondest memories are the hymns, stained glass and organ music of the church she once attended. There are many common sense things here: Why praise God for the 1 who survived a disaster while forgetting the 99 who perished? Why cling to patently absurd ideas about science that are demonstrably false? Why the violence and hatred against those of other (or no) religions when their own religion preaches love, tolerance and acceptance?
The main problem is the humor. It's too slapstick, a case of trying too hard. At first it was funny, then mildly humorous, then annoying. And this includes all those "fake" stories that were soon revealed to have an element of truth. The political part again comes in for heavy criticism. There is absolutely zero evidence that non-faith folks would treat citizens differently that those with faith. Stalin, Mao & Castro bragged of their atheism yet no one would contend that they ushered in an Age of Humanism. (I know, I know, they were "just" bad people – but many of the Popes were also "just" bad people. Two can play that game.)
My only wish is that the website had not been taken down. It was a great place for catching up on the latest culture war news and one without the rancor and excessive preachiness of so many others.
1 Star Church and religion is good to hate, but its deeper than that
There are more people that believe that bible and thats it and do not go to church, than people that go to church. You just watch TV and see what you see, and think thats the majority. wrong.
If you hate "church" and "religion", than good. God is bigger than any church building.
"Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
5 Stars A Book Fundamentalists Would Love to Hate
"The Happy Heretic" is a wonderful read. It is a much-needed kick-in-the-teeth for religion in general, and fundamentalist Christianity in particular.
It is a very timely book, considering how the Religious Right in this country is so intent on turning the U.S. into a theocratic dictatorship. It is also a warning to people to wake up to the dangers the Religious Right poses to our freedoms.
I highly recommend this book. It is funny, thought-provoking and well-written – all things that our current government and the Religous Right love to hate.