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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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