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Atheism For Dummies Paperback – March 18, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (March 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 111850920X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118509203
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Learn to:

  • See the world as an atheist sees it
  • Discover the rich history of atheist thought
  • Encounter the Big Questions from a secular point of view

The friendly guide to understanding atheist thought, history, and literature!

Atheism is about much more than not believing in a god. Atheism For Dummies walks you through the rich history and evolution of atheist thought, delves into the relationship between atheism and science, explores the important historical moments and works of literature that have defined this secular philosophy, and so much more. Atheism For Dummies provides you with much-needed clarity around this often controversial and misunderstood topic. Whether you're a religious skeptic, a student of secular thought, or just interested in what atheism is about, then Atheism For Dummies is for you.

  • Look at the spectrum of belief and disbelief — learn about the differences between atheism, humanism, antitheism, agnosticism, and more
  • Unlock the mystery behind atheism — find out what atheists don't believe, do believe, and why
  • Follow atheism through the ages — explore the evolution of atheist thought from the ancient world to today
  • Read the rich written history of atheism — delve into the great works of atheism and learn about their contributions to atheist philosophy
  • Understand atheism today — learn how atheists lead meaningful lives without religion
  • Explore atheist ethics — discover how atheists are good without God

Open the book and find:

  • The many forms of religious disbelief
  • Atheism as a cultural movement
  • The progression of atheism from quiet doubt to global phenomenon
  • Ways to look at a religious culture through nonreligious eyes
  • How to deal with diversity of beliefs in your family
  • The effects of science on atheist philosophy
  • How atheism and religion affect politics
  • Ten surprising things about atheists

About the Author

Dale McGowan, PhD, writes the popular secular blog The Meming of Life, teaches secular parenting workshops across North America, and is executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist charitable organization. He has been interviewed in major publications, such as Newsweek and the New York Times, and was 2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year.


More About the Author

Author, editor, and Harvard Humanist of the Year Dale McGowan is the founding executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a non-profit putting compassionate humanism to work for a better world. His books PARENTING BEYOND BELIEF and RAISING FREETHINKERS are the first comprehensive resources for nontheistic parents.

In ATHEISM FOR DUMMIES and VOICES OF UNBELIEF, he explores the history and texture of religious disbelief, while IN FAITH AND IN DOUBT offers the first comprehensive look into relationships between religious believers and nonbelievers.

Dale lives with his wife and children near Atlanta, GA.

Customer Reviews

Throughout the book, ample reference is given to works with greater scope and depth.
Kindle Customer
It helps to explain how the best way to create atheists is to have religionists actually take the trouble to read their own "holy" writings with an open mind.
Karl R. Schneider
Dr. Dale McGowan is a gifted writer in that he presents a complex and, some would say, difficult topic in an easy to read manner.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on March 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been wondering when the Dummies series would finally get around the atheism. It's been worth the wait--Dale is the perfect choice to write this book. Articulate, funny, balanced and moderate in his approach, wide-ranging in his knowledge and interests, it's hard to imagine a better tour guide for the often bewildering world of secularism.

Some will criticize this book for its lack of depth, but of course it was only ever intended to be an introduction, as Dale makes clear from the outset. Throughout the book, ample reference is given to works with greater scope and depth. But how not to love a work that covers George Carlin and Tim Minchin, PZ Myers and Greg Epstein, Hume, the Greeks, The Simpsons and The Onion, and so much more.

Whirlwindy? You bet. But it's become a trope within secularism that the movement's organization (such as it is) is "like herding cats." Dale has rounded up about as many kitties as one non-tome book could handle.
And perhaps "Atheism for Dummies'" best feature is that it does all this while presenting a relatable, human, even friendly face to the religious reader, allowing her to get to know us better and come to understand how generally non-threatening we really are.

Mr. Rogers might never gotten around to finding an atheist in his neighborhood, but I'm glad the Dummies folks finally have. They made absolutely the right choice.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Hemant Mehta on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dale McGowan's new book Atheism for Dummies arrived at my house last week and I've been having a wonderful time leafing through it. The writing is extremely accessible and the book is a thorough, helpful introduction to atheism both as a philosophy and as a movement. If you read this book cover-to-cover, you'd have a very good idea of what sorts of issues atheists are dealing with in our society.

The book manages to be both informative and conversational -- no simple task! -- and the best part is that a religious person could read it without getting offended in any way. It really is intended to be explanatory, not persuasive.

Normally, these sorts of books are written as guides to help you understand a subject you know little about. But as someone who is about as steeped as you could get in "atheist culture" (I write the FriendlyAtheist.com blog), a lot of information was brand new to me and I know I'll be referencing this book for years to come.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Still Learning, Still Thinking on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To my mind, virtually anybody interested in atheism in any way, shape, or form can benefit from this book. "Atheism for Dummies" is the most thorough, clear, and well-written treatment of non-belief that I've ever seen. Though it's one of the "Dummies" series, I think a better title would have been, "Atheism for Anyone and Everyone."

I've purchased a few "Dummies" books before and found them a bit lacking in really useful information even for topics in which I had little prior knowledge. But while I've been an avid student of both religion and secular thought for many years and don't consider myself a "dummy" in this area, I've learned something new or how to think about something in a new way every few pages while reading this book.

Another trait of the "Dummies" series is that of being filled with cutesy, "wink-wink" humor that at first brings grins but which soon becomes annoying, at least for me. While Mr. McGowan has continued that style of presentation in the current book (no doubt part of the required format), this time I didn't find it grating at all. That may be because I'm deeply interested in this subject, but I think it's also because Mr. McGowan's sincerity, deep knowledge, and genuine sense of humor each shine through the page.

I suppose the various recent books by more famous non-believers needed to sort of pave the way for "Atheism for Dummies," but in terms of introducing atheism to god-believers and questioning doubters, in an ideal world this book would have come first. Had that been the case, I think the dialogue between believers and non-believers would now feature much less "wailing and gnashing of teeth," to use the Biblical phrase.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John W. Loftus VINE VOICE on March 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read this book I think Dale does an absolutely amazing job of both introducing atheism to the masses and providing an almost comprehensive reference work that people can refer to again and again. When the publisher was looking for someone to write such a book Hemant Mehta recommended they contact Dale for the job, and as far as I'm concerned he was the best choice. Since the potential buyer can look inside the book I won't describe the contents in any detail here. Most people already know that the "Dummmies" series of books are easy to read introductions to a given topic (I'm told 1600 of them so far). This one however, goes way beyond an easy to read introduction to atheism. It's very comprehensive and at the same time a reference work I can refer to in the coming years.

Taken together with his other books, and his efforts as the executive director of "Foundation Beyond Belief" (which is a humanist charitable foundation based in Atlanta), Dale McGowan has become one of my atheist heroes of late. Keep up the great work! We need you.
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