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Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
While Christopher Hitchens', Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins are entertaining the masses with their warranted and timely attacks on religion, Mr. Eller has established a philosophical fortress to deal with the entire religious/atheist debate. I recommend that anyone looking for a serious and intellectually sound discussion of atheism (and religion) read David Eller's Natural Atheism and his follow-up book Atheism Advanced. Mr. Eller gets down to the essential philosophical concepts behind religion and makes you proud to be a free-thinker instead of a moron. Pseudo-philosophy and mass-market diatribes only go so far in advancing understanding and while useful, these are far from complete. Intelligent humans (and the entire human species) deserve better if we hope to maintain any type of intellectual purity. If there's a better dissection of the morass called religion out there somewhere, then please clue me in, because I haven't seen it yet. In this most recent book, Mr. Eller begins by deconstructiong religion, exposing both the positive and negative aspects. Anyone seeking to understand our past attractions to religion, along with our present need to get past it, will do well to immerse themself in Atheism Advanced. However, his previous book is definitely a prerequisite for this one.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
If objective thinking and reading ever become a universal norm, then Eller's two books, Natural Atheism, and Atheism Advanced, would also be considered, historically, two of the greatest achievements of atheist literature. His research and references, both requisites to credibility, are exhaustive and prestigious. However, those are only half as amazing as the insight and clarity by which he presents his findings and conclusions. Eller's genius and hard work have gone into making a combined scientific, anthropologic and philosophic mark on history.Tent Revival For Agnostics
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Eller's book "Atheism Advanced" should be in every atheist library. I thought I had read up on most every issue concerning the philosophy of religion before reading his book, but I was wrong, dead wrong. His passionate analysis is significant and thought provoking in every single chapter I've read so far (thru chapter six). I think Eller should be the new spokesman for atheism and invited to speak at every atheist conference. I think Christians need to deal with the power of his arguments.

In my book I argue against a specific religious viewpoint likened to a small limb growing out of the very large tree of religion. I'm not arguing against animism, animatism, nor ancestor worship, ethical non-theism (like Buddhism) nor the many polytheistic gods and goddesses, nor do I argue against other monotheisms like the several branches of Judaism or Islam, nor do I argue against whatever original Christianities believed, nor liberalism, nor deism. No. I'm arguing against a small sect in time, evangelical Christianity. And among evangelicals themselves there is no consensus about true Christianity, relegating certain other branches as "cults." Christianity is best understood as a "local Christianity," one situated in a particular time and place held by particular localized people. What a particular Christian believes is a hybrid coming from schism after schism and the conclusions of hindsight through the process of syncretism. Eller effectively argues that Christians believe in a local Christianity or no Christianity at all.

While I argue specifically about the dominant American fundamentalist or evangelical view in my book, Dr. Eller argues against religion itself. Along the way Eller advances (or promotes) our understanding of just what atheism is. [Hint, atheism is not just a view that stands in contrast with the dominant religious view of any particular society. Atheism in Hindu countries would be a-Hinduist, while atheism in Christian countries would be considered a-Christian. But this cannot be what atheism is about!] We atheists have allowed the dominant religious view of our societies to set the definition for what atheism is, and even the language we use to debate the issues, Eller argues. Why is it that most debates in western cultures are debates on such topics as "Christianity vs. Atheism"? Eller wants us to think in larger terms than that. From reading what Eller says the real debate should be set in terms of "Christianity vs. Itself," since there are so many branches of it, or "Christianity vs. All Other Religions," since that's the proper way to think about religion (can you imagine a Christian wanting to debate that topic with an atheist??). Eller writes: "Nothing is more destructive to religion than other religions; it is like meeting one's own anti-matter twin." (p. 233).

Eller also argues that there is no specific "Science vs. Religion" problem either, since some religions do not believe in any personal god, and because religious believers are not against most scientific disciplines. Believers are only opposed to those scientific disciplines that come into direct conflict with their own specific religious claims. Some religions don't even have a creation theory! Surely religious believers are not opposed to quantum theory or gravitational theory or meteorology or botany of gemology (the study of gems), for starters. They are only opposed to specific claims within physics and biology when science crosses over into the arbitrary and sacred/profane boundary of specific religious claims. Religious believers are not opposed to science as a whole, just some aspects of it! So the debate is not about science vs. religion but rather against specific local religions vs specific scientific claims.

There is much more to his book. Every person interested in these issues (both believer and non-believer) should get and read and discuss it. I consider his book essential for understanding these issues. Eller writes well, is passionate, intelligent, and offers very powerful arguments against religion as a whole. In the process he more than adequately advances atheism. This book is destined to be a classic work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
No one should think this a mere addendum to "Natural Atheism." This is a sharply argued, deeply researched classic that points to the territory of where the recent fad of "atheist" bestsellers must head. With the ivory tower academy all but defunct because of its corporate, anti-intellectual credentialing function, Eller rescues the notion of sustained, accessible scholarship. There will need to be debate about his dramatic points, and though he calls for an end to atheist manifestos, given the unimaginably strong calculus of religious power, both he and the under-appreciated Michel Onfray need to keep their quills sharp and ready. Forgo the case of Busch and buy the damn book - you're not going to find this at your local Patriot-Act library.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Eller's first book was very well written this one is even better. For those who want to better their language and stop speaking christian and move forward in a more secular culture this will help get you in the right path of reason. For those who are beyond religion and and want to move in a more progressive future this is the book for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Atheism has become a hot item in book sales in the last few years, thank to the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. But, David Eller really puts them all to shame with this fantastic exploration of the subject. Instead of just railing against religion, he explains it; in depth and with great expertise. There is almost too much information to take in on each page.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
While Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and Hitchens' "god Is Not Great" are insightful, entertaining must-reads, Dr. Eller's "Atheism Advanced" is by far more scientific and comprehensive. There is no need for me to repeat what previous reviewers have written about its content I do want to suggest, in addition to his previous publication, "Natural Atheism," a companion book to "Atheism Advanced," the equally, if not more academic "Introducing Anthropology of Religion."

If one wants to understand atheism, its roots, its logic and most importantly for these times, its polemics, I highly recommend all three of Dr. Eller's books.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I got a copy that was signed by the author - freaked me out.
My son freaked too. He has just started reading it but I'm told already that it is the best of Eller's books.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the most erudite and balanced treatises I have ver read on religion, its origins and lack of validity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is so profound and easy to read, down to earth describing what the issues are. I was very favorably impressed with this, and because of how good Eller writes, I bought several other books he has authored. I have not read a bad book by him yet. I highly recommend this text. His ideas of belief just electrified me for the obvious logic and realistic expectations of this thing called "belief." Eller's thoughts on it were some of the most simple to read, profound to grasp. A very excellent book all in all. I will read it again and again.
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