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God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales [Hardcover] Unknown Binding – 2011


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B005HDILLU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,079,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

An excellent read,..one of the funniest books I have read in years.
Norman Cutter
Unfortunately, he did not take the opportunity to point out that every religious person is an Atheist when discussing some religion other than their own.
TrialAuthor
A quick read, I found the book to be quite funny, laughing out loud many times.
alex

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

238 of 269 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
God No! is, I think, about the possibility of being a good person without believing in a supreme being. When Penn Jillette stays on point, he uses humor effectively to make meaningful arguments. When he rambles and digresses -- which he does frequently -- he dilutes that message. In the introduction, Penn tells the reader that he rambles, but the admission should be in all caps, printed in bright red ink, surrounded by stars and preceded by a WARNING sign.

Penn tells us that he is an atheist, not an agnostic, because anyone who doesn't know whether there is a god necessarily doesn't believe in one and must therefore be an atheist. It seems to me Penn defines agnosticism out of existence. Most people I know who call themselves atheists deny the possibility of a deity while those who argue that the existence or nonexistence of a supreme being is unknowable tend to call themselves agnostics. Penn understands the distinction but rejects it; in his words, "If you're not willing to pretend that matters of god can be certain, you're an atheist." I suppose Penn can define his terms any way he wants, but he didn't persuade me that "Do you believe in god?" is a question "that needs to be answered yes or no." I think it's a question that can legitimately be answered however an individual wants to answer it (including "I have no belief either way"), even if Penn thinks that any answer more nuanced than "yes" or "no" is "a cheesy grade school dodge."

Definitions aside, there is something to be said for Penn's larger point: It is possible to live an ethical life based on rules derived from shared experiences that are not dependent on biblical commandments. This book, Penn tells us, is a response to Glen Beck's challenge "to entertain the idea of an atheist Ten Commandments.
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89 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Saganite VINE VOICE on August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Penn is profane and obnoxious, as anyone who's seen him on TV shows such as [and the irony here is that although they can sell it by name, I can't write the actual name without being censored, so let's just say "BS"] knows. And there's plenty of that in "God, No!" What some readers might not be as prepared for are the moments of sentiment, sometimes slipping into sentimentality. Penn is a big guy with a big voice, big opinions, big appetites, and a big heart. He values individuality above most things, and wears his admiration for courageous action and original thought on his sleeve. All of that comes out in this book.

All of it.

And not in any organized format, either, but as it occurs to Penn. And you know what? That's actually pretty cool. I found the book very hard to put down, precisely because of its conversational nature. The one thing I could live without--something Penn also employed in his novel "Sock"--is the more-or-less random use of song titles and quotes.

Sometimes I found myself wishing he were a little less obscene because there are plenty of people I would love to share "God, No!" with, but a sizeable percentage of them would be put off by some of the language. But in truth, that's Penn's style, and even saying one wished things were different sounds like wishing "Lady Gaga would put some damned clothes on." Absurd on its face.

So take Penn as Penn, and prepare to meet an interesting cast of characters from all strata of society, punctuated by a fresh take on the "Ten Commandments" that is unbelievably sane and erudite. But the heart of "God, No!" relates to friendship and family. The "baptism" of former Hassidic Jews into a sort of sacrament of bacon, for example.
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191 of 241 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Gurney on August 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must admit that my feelings about this book are a bit schizophrenic. I do really enjoy Mr Jillette - funny as hell, irreverent, outspoken, unfiltered. All stuff I love. Hence, it was fun to read about his escapades and outlook. Yes, I am an atheist, a scientist (climate change - yes, we exist!) and have an eclectic political viewpoint. So, I am a forgiving reader of Mr Jillette, for sure.
So, first the bad news: The trouble I had is a similar problem I have had with some books of late written by entertainers in which they attempt to tread, at times, on more serious matters with a license borrowed from their celebrity. It is a danger that a big microphone has on many..... they think because the big microphone keeps showing up (because they are funny, sing well, act well, entertain) their view on politics, family psychology, science, etc are equally sharp, informed and worth listening too. This is often just not true (though there are exceptional cases). His libertarian snippets for example...... he falls into the same childish, simplistic view of the world that most unstudied libertarians do. Once you spend any time actually trying to manage anything bigger than a 2-man show or a small business, you quickly learn that the Randian bumper stickers sound great but are for dorm rooms and chat rooms - not serious contributions to actually governing much and just serve to add to the clatter of uninformed opinion.
Similarly with climate change - though Jillette confesses he doesn't know much about it and recounts his overstatements in the past, he does so with the "insult first, then say it was a joke" approach. "I don't know" is indeed an honest position if he had just left it there. But while proclaiming to do that, he plays that "maybe" game that just comes off as manipulative.
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