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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reasonable people at one with the great human minds
Those who'd like to challenge the founding fathers as to religion, - maintaining that they were Christians , would do well to read this book. America was NOT founded upon Christianity, but upon Deism- the idea that there might have BEEN an original God , but that he was only the watchmaker who created the earth , but left it to it's own devices once it was wound up; not...
Published on June 24, 1998

versus
10 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Much material, but has many misrepresentations
This book is a large collection of quotes from various individuals who have disbelieved religious orthodoxies of their day.

There is much interesting material here, but the book has some problems.

For one, the author repeats many atheist claims that are false.

He holds to the Comtean/Marxist view of the inevitable triumph of...
Published on May 5, 2006 by A Reader


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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reasonable people at one with the great human minds, June 24, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
Those who'd like to challenge the founding fathers as to religion, - maintaining that they were Christians , would do well to read this book. America was NOT founded upon Christianity, but upon Deism- the idea that there might have BEEN an original God , but that he was only the watchmaker who created the earth , but left it to it's own devices once it was wound up; not giving humans dominance nor establishing faiths. Thus the idea of revealed religion was false and open to skepticism. The true focus of this book however , is to expose the reader to a VAST number of humanity's greatest thinkers they might have not known were skeptics and doubters of their times and ours. Full of quotes -from ancient through modern times- this is an extremely well researched compilation .Truly a gold-mine for those who'd like to know what Aristotle ,Shakespeare, Decartes, Franklin , Twain , Voltaire , Jefferson, Edison , Einstein , Freud , Asimov , Roddenberry actually said- to mention only a few of at least forty other great minds that have shaped us into the humans and societies we are today. 2000 Years of Disbelief is a MUST-READ for any student of philosophy or religion . Progress has never been measured by blind adherence , but careful study of minority thinking , as that is the only true road to growth ;both personal and societal , and this book realizes it's goal - to expose the myths and introduce us to the even GREATER original thinking of the minds we hold dearest in our historical psyches.DO READ!!
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Start to Learning more about Histories Greatest Minds, February 5, 2000
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
This book, while not extremely in-depth, does a great job of showing that people need not be religious in order to be good, accomplished, human beings. While some consider it to be a mere anti-religious diatribe, what the book does is serve as a quick glance at some of history's greatest freethinkers. There are great theists and atheists; morals, virtue, and ethics are not restricted to either. This book goes far in showing that. Also, one point about the quotes. The "Booklist" review says that they may have been taken out of context. But further research into many of the people Haught listed in his book show that the quotes he uses are usually supported by the true views of their author's. I suspect that Booklist did not research the people, or the quotes, at all, which explains their shortsighted review.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Easy to digest, and packs a punch!, February 5, 1999
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
This book is very good. It is chronologically ordered, so that one can read what various freethinkers throughout history thought of religion, often at the threat of social disdain (at the very least) or death. Although a great many ancient minds thought the Earth was flat and posessed by various gods of a Draconian religion, there were those precious few that were surprisingly ahead of their time. This book chronicles this nicely.
Even theists that have the slightest bit of doubt will enjoy this book, perhaps unwittingly. There are some great minds listed throughout such as: Voltaire, Copernicus, Magellan, Einstein, Freud, Mark Twain, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Darwin, Ayn Rand, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison, and lots more.
Also littered throughout the book are various snippets of historic events, such as atheists who were murdered for their beliefs. Makes one realize how serious people were and are about their pet mythologies.
This book is a must have for the atheist seeking some fun arguments by authority or for the theist who is impressed by such. In any event, it is VERY insightful!
Dan The Burke
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good collection, but light in details, June 10, 2007
By 
E. Cetin (East Quogue, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
2000 Years of Disbelief is a good collection of famous people from the ancients to the modern ones, who criticized religion. The book is organized into time periods such as renaissance, European enlightenment etc and covers a large number of thinkers. There is a short information for each thinker's life, opinions and then comes quotations from his/her books or sayings.

It is a good collection but it is somewhat light in explaining the ideas of the philosophers or the general conditions in their times that lead to their doubt or disbelief. About two thirds of the book consists of the quotations. More detailed information about the lives and ideas of the philosophers would have been nice.

Among some of the quotations that I like:

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one. - Voltaire

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. - Thomas Jefferson

Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life, except religion. - Christopher Hitchens

If the philosophers were to form a government, the people, after 150 years, would forgo some new superstition, and would either pray to little idols, or to the graves in which the great men were buried, or invoke the sun, or commit some similar nonsense. Superstition is the weakness of the human mind, which is inseparably tied to it; it has always existed, and always will. - Frederich the Great

Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. Pray: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy. Redemption: Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin, through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religion, and whose believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it. - Ambrose Bierce
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Interesting Read, August 23, 2001
By 
Monkey Spunk (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
Christians are going to go through the roof when they read of people like Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Adams and other founding fathers (and mothers) that had no use for organized religion.
The chapter on James Madison is especially interesting in its depiction of Madison and Jefferson's battle to pass Jefferson's Religious Freedom Act. This action was necessary since a tax bill was on hand (1784) to give sums of American tax dollars to Christian churches, thus establishing a federally funded religion. Had this occurred, the religious freedom so many people had died for would have evaporated. Jews, atheists or otherwise would have been out of luck. Fortunately, that bill was defeated and the tenets of Jefferson's Religious Freedom Act were sewn into our Bill of Rights in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
I find it important to illustrate the fact that one does not have to be an atheist to find value in this book. For those of us that are interested in human history, this text lends great insight into the minds of many people that have impacted our world's past, present and future. Its claims are exhaustively researched and documented on the pages. If the inclination to dispute or research is felt, all one has to do is have a pen and paper handy.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource, June 17, 2004
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
The Booklist Editor review completely misses the point of this book. It's not intended as a debate book on the peasant poetry of the Christian/Jewish holy book; or on the arguments believers make on behalf of their religion. It's intended as a biographical summary of unbelievers throughout history since Christ. And, in that function, the book does a fine job.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting reference work, January 23, 1999
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This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
The Booklist review suggests this book lacks "balance" because it doesn't offer the "positive aspects of Western culture" wrought by religion. One wonders if a book critical of the Third Reich would be unacceptable to Booklist if the author failed to offer "balance" by mentioning that the Nazi's made the trains run on time.
The quotations are interesting, engaging and often humorous. Any book offering the following quote can't be all bad:
"I read about an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, 'If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?' 'No,' said the priest, 'not if you did not know.' 'Then why,' asked the Eskimo earnestly, 'did you tell me?' " -- Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, 1974
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, January 26, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
I have only read about half of the book. But this half has come in only two days, because the book is mainly a quick reference guide to some biographical information followed by quotes. This book is excellent for anyone that wants a starter in the history of religion or actually freethought.
-- Now finished, and am quite pleased with what I read. I will gladly go to 'hell' with these great thinkers than go to a 'heaven' filled with people who blindly follow. I also read Some Mistakes of Moses, another book that is a quick read like this one and highly recommended.
BUT this one is for the history or biography minded out there, it is not a literary work, it is a reference to certain people "wetting the palate" of the reader to go out and read more.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God, Not Everybody Is A Lemming!, April 19, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
I absolutely loved this book! It features thousands of ways that intelligent people have used to express disdain for the bankrupt theistic beliefs held by the majority. I hate it when bubbleheaded, religious lemmings repeat nonsense that they've been fed, and expect everybody to agree. These "believers" cannot even agree with one another, as has been evidenced by the various religious wars, inquisitions, and witch hunts that have taken place throughout history. Religious differences continue to be the major causes of bloodshed on the planet in our own time. People of moral courage and reason need to continuously resist this dangerous, pious impulse, in the hope that someday it will die out. I was very inspired that these people, many of whom were rich and/or famous, and had a lot to lose, would bluntly state their honest doubts publicly. The book also serves as a good reference for further reading. I intend to investigate more deeply, the views of many of the people featured.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good general overview, February 22, 2004
This review is from: 2000 Years of Disbelief (Hardcover)
This book is good all around for people of every religious bent and of all levels of knowledge about this subject. All the information in this book can be found outside of the book, but its nice because it collects it all in one place. The book is very basic and not in depth, but its a good starting point for people to get familiar with the history of religious criticism.
The book however, falls short when it comes to fully explaining the role of religious criticism in western civilization. The book is good for highlighting many people who were not religious, or were critical of religion, but it certainly does not provide a full understanding of the social movements related to religious criticism and their importance in western civilization.
Most obviously the author only mentions two quotes from Karl Marx hidden among other random quotes from the 19th century. In fact Karl Marx is arguably the single most important religious critic of all time. Likewise the author mentions nothing of other Communist and Socialist atheists, nor of many of the atheistic German philosophers of the Enlightenment, such as Bruno Baur, etc. I'm sure that this is for obvious reasons of trying to distance religious criticism from Marxism, however this is really something impossible to do if you really want to understand history.
Its very obvious that the modern American attitude towards religious criticism and atheism is a product of the Cold War and of the association between Marxism and atheism. Not acknowledging this or understanding it leaves both atheists and religious minded people without the primary basis for understanding the history of modern society and the position of religious criticism in modern society. Why do you think that the "religious right" and the big corporations have joined forces the way they have? Marxism opposed both religion and capitalism, thus religious groups and big captial formed an alliance against the common threat. Prior to the rise of Marxism Christian groups were the biggest critics of modern capitalism and were on opposite sides of the politcal fence.
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2000 Years of Disbelief
2000 Years of Disbelief by James A. Haught (Hardcover - June 1, 1996)
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