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Disbelief 101: A Young Person's Guide to Atheism Paperback – May 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—This brief and uneven treatise on the central tenet of atheism and the arguments in its favor is meant to encourage and fortify readers who are questioning their religious beliefs. It isn't an impartial look at freethinking; instead, Hitchcock sets up and attempts to demolish arguments for the existence of God, including the lack of evidence, the contradiction in an omnipotent God who allows bad things to happen to innocent people, and the fallacy of personal feelings as proof of God's existence. Unfortunately, the quality of the analysis varies from fairly cogent explanations of scientific and philosophical concepts to smug asides like, in a discussion of original sin, "Talk about sick." The treatment of some themes (evolution, for example) is too shallow, although a brief bibliography guides readers to further resources. Sporadic cartoon-style illustrations add humor: a bearded God on a wanted poster, for one. Although the author acknowledges the special difficulties of young people who find themselves questioning their family's or community's deeply held religious beliefs, it's hard to say just who this is for: anyone who appreciates Hitchcock's arguments probably needs something more meaty, and anyone who isn't so sure about the whole subject might be put off by the cocky tone.—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM
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From Booklist

Sure to outrage religious readers, and not just fundamentalists, this chatty, totally irreverent title, written under a pseudonym, speaks to teen rebels of all faiths who question religious indoctrination. The book is really an expansion of a single statement: “God doesn’t exist.” Readers can dip in wherever they like to find support for their arguments against the nonbelievers or to find their own doubts reflected. The chapter on evolution versus creationism and intelligent design spells out the author’s position in clear language: evolution is not a belief; there is factual evidence. Faith is the f-word here: how do we know that hell exists if people only go there after they’re dead? And the author says to forget compromise: science and religion cannot coexist. Yes, Hitchcock writes, Jesus did preach some wisdom, even if his messages, such as “love thy neighbor as thyself,” were not original. But, he adds, morality is totally separate from doctrine, and much evil is done in religion’s name. White’s black-and-white cartoons appear throughout and are both cheeky and thought provoking. A bibliography of further reading concludes. Grades 7-12. --Hazel Rochman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: See Sharp Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884365477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884365478
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,756,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Cambria on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was very helpful for me. I read this book during a time when I was feeling extremely pressured to believe in god. This book reminded me of all of the reasons that I'm an atheist, and helped me come up with a few more. Anyone who is feeling unsure about their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) should read this book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Book Trope 9 on August 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Disbelief 101 is intelligently designed to appeal to the tween/early-teen crowd, and it does a superb job. Indeed, it is the best book on the topic of disbelief available for young people.

The author begins right away (well, after an introduction by Tom Flynn) by assuring young people who may be nervous reading such a book that he understands their fears. S. C. Hitchcock (writing under a pseudonym for the safety of his family) tells such readers that, if they take nothing else from the book, and if they are unable or unwilling to read anything else, to remember that there is no God. "Religion," he says, surely striking a nerve with everyone in his intended audience, "survives and is a huge force in the world because it relies on the indoctrination of children." It was this observation, Hitchcock noted in an interview, that drove him to write the book.

The book is divided into several brief chapters that build on each other, explaining the absurdity of believing in god(s). The book endeavors to shine light on the flaws of all religions, dwelling primarily on the three `great' monotheisms.

Disbelief beautifully addresses concerns and fears a young person may have regarding casting aside faith. It even advises youths on how to deal with their rational thinking, should they happen to live in a household where dissenting opinions are forbidden. For example, Hitchcock spends three pages calming his readers & telling them it's okay to set such ideas aside until they are free of well-intentioned care-givers who would likely not understand.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Freethinker on February 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing! A must read for all ages. Great introductory book. Doesn't go as in depth as say, Dawkins, but very readable.
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Format: Kindle Edition
When a young person realizes they are just meat in the grinder of religion, this book is far superior to simply going negative about whatever adults say to them. Critical thinking will allow young people to separate the flowers from the weeds of humanity.
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