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.
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars The Magnum Opus of Atheism
I'm glad that there are many books about atheism and natural coming out, because it's a discussion that I don't think should ever end. But to me, the magnum opus of all atheism has already been written, and it's this book. Smith tackles topic after topic effectively and logically. He even discusses 'tangent' topics like Universal Skepticism that I think any philosophically-minded person should be aware of. I can't recommend this book enough–and I mean that to anyone of any belief system who is serious about intellectual honesty and philosophical curiosity.
5 Stars The Gospel of Atheism
This book is the gospel of atheism. It is a MUST read for anyone who is seriously examining the viewpoint of atheism.
Smith's point is that when examining the question of God's existence, the burden of proof is on the theist. This makes sense since the only proof an atheist could present for God's nonexistence is the absence of evidence for his existence. And the atheist's position is that there is no evidence for God. Thus, it is up to the theist to make his/her case. He then examines the arguments that theists put forth and reveals the flaws in each one. In the end, having failed to demonstrate the existence of God, he concludes that the only rational alternative is atheism.
But be warned. I would not recommend this book for the philosophically challenged or those seeking a "light" intellectual book. It will not be a book that most can read in one sitting, but it is thoroughly enjoyable.
5 Stars If you only read one book on atheism, this is the one
The title says it all. If you only have time to read one book on atheism, this is the book to read. It covers everything in a very accessible style and only occasionally loses its patience with a very difficult topic.
4 Stars You've read the New Atheists. Now try an 'old' one
Atheism is the rage these days, thanks largely to new media-savvy champions who've come to be known as proponents of the "New Atheism." New Atheism takes its cue (and presumably its name) from its insistence that religious claims are incompatible with evolutionary ones and hence immediately suspect, and that religious belief leads to intolerance and violence. Many commentators–sympathetic as well as critical–have pointed out there's not a whole lot of evidence that New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens have much familiarity with traditional philosophical and theological arguments for God. This ignorance both creates serious holes in the arguments but also sometimes leads to them re-inventing wheels and duplicating old (and discredited) arguments.
That's why a reading of the New Atheists really ought to be complemented by Atheism: The Case Against God, a work written by "old atheist" George Smith. Smith clearly knows the philosophical and theological tradition, and he addresses himself to a refutation of that tradition's variety of arguments for the existence of God. He critically examines, for example, both Anselm's ontological argument, Thomas Aquinas' famous Quinquae Viae, and the ever-popular argument(s) from design. He does close linguistic analysis of words such as "God" and "Being," and concludes that they literally make no sense. He provides a historical overview of the classic debate of faith and reason, and he provides his own philosophical analysis. He insists that agnosticism is simply a variety of atheism (and also, interestingly, a variety of theism, depending upon how it's spun). And he concludes with a criticism of theism based on morality that avoids the shrillness and over-generalization too frequently indulged in by the New Atheists (especially Dawkins and Hitchens).
This isn't to say that Smith provides an overwhelmingly compelling "case against God." Each reader will have to weigh his arguments and come to his or her own reasoned conclusions. But what Smith HAS done is to give us a very strong, very readable, and eminently rational argument for atheism that, unlike New Atheism proponents, takes on precisely the issues that need taking on. Highly recommended.
5 Stars Excellent
Excellent book, Very convincing, well written, quite easy to understand but some parts are a little vague… Pass it around your local church.
This book mainly tries to show , mostly christian belief, that belief in a god is irrational. It does this by reducing christain belief into the theistic agnostic position.. ie I believe in a god but i have no evidence nor do i have any idea what this god is like… In a nutshell anyways..
This book goes step by step on what an educated atheist might say and then what a theist might say… Although it is not in dialog form… It is just very systematic…
Ive read this book twice and wish i had it here with me now so that i could read it again… Its thick and packs a punch…
I would also recommend Thomas Pains, The Age of Reason … and of course David Humes, Dialogues concerning natural religion although that book is quite technical if you are not familiar with Hume… Just read this book..