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Chapters present short biographical introductions to a number of famous philosophers, literary figures, historians, politicians, and artists (e.g., Locke, Shakespeare, Gibbon, Jefferson, Bertrand Russell), focusing more on their detractors and the problems these individuals encountered as a result of their disbelief rather than articulating their views and placing them in their historical context. A black-and-white portrait is provided for each person. The biographical sketch is followed by a selection of quotations from the person. However, passages from an individual's writings, taken in isolation and, thus, out of context, cannot give an accurate account of the person's thought on a subject. Haught also fails to supply complete bibliographic information for the works from which the quotations are drawn. A far better source is The Encyclopedia of Unbelief (Prometheus, 1986). While sharing the same doubts about religious belief as Haught's work, it nevertheless remains both balanced and scholarly in its presentation.
In discussing the advance of Western civilization, Haught claims, "Much of the progress was impelled by men and women who didn't pray, didn't kneel at altars, didn't make pilgrimages, didn't recite creeds." His view, with its implicit disdain for people of faith, ignores the role religion has played in the development of the positive aspects of Western culture. Haught could have authored a work that presented the contributions of the nonreligious to the Western intellectual tradition. This work is vitriol, masquerading as a collection of antireligious quotations. Not recommended.
The book briefly details 100, or so, people who question/ed the existence of God. Al Gore, Benjamin Franklin, Mozart, Beethoven, George Washington, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison,... Read morePublished on June 6, 2011 by D. Mullane
A very important topic and an excellent presentation of this important and relevant history. Well done. Read morePublished on February 14, 2010 by B. Stone
I bought this for having a source of well known intellects' opinions on the existence of a God, Humanism, Agnosticism, Atheism. Read morePublished on December 1, 2009 by Richard Carter Schwertle
I have enjoyed reading through this and connecting with some great minds through out history.
I have picked up a copyer here on Amazone and a few at local book stores and the... Read more
The book let us know that disbelievers are not alone and are in great company. This book will contains lots of thoughts of many of the great minds of history. Read morePublished on February 7, 2008 by Luis
This is my favorite collection of freethought quotations which I return to regularly. The book provides a broad range of ideas from many of the most gifted and famous people of... Read morePublished on January 28, 2008 by DOB
This is an eye-opening survey of prominent historical figures who did not believe in a god. Readers are sure to find many surprises here. Read morePublished on September 6, 2007 by Guy P. Harrison
Informative, and to be truthful, a great deal of fun to read. This work reaffirms that to think "freely" is an old and honored tradition, practised by some of the creators of the... Read morePublished on February 6, 2007 by Alejandro De Murcia