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Philosophers without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life Hardcover – August 8, 2007
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"The authors answer, forcefully and intelligently, the standard arguments against atheism."--V.V. Raman, CHOICE
"This Atheists R Us compilation differs markedly in tone from Hitchens and Dawkins. Excellent fare for Christian small groups whose members are genuinely interested in the arguments raised by atheists."--Christianity Today
"Rather than the foolishness of Dawkins or Hitchens, these [essays] are compelling and sophisticated arguments that religious people ought to confront...."--Tikkun
"This collection strikes me as an excellent example of how comprehensible philosophical writing can be at its best. By and large, the essays are written in a clear and direct style, free of philosophical jargon. many who read it will find themselves also engaged at a level that is not merely academic."--George I. Mavrodes, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"Taken as a group, these readable, personal, and provocative essays make it clear that there are many kinds of non-believers, and even many different elements that make up a single skeptical outlook. Contrary to the popular image, atheism isn't all rebellious trumpets and defiant drums. That part of the orchestra is essential, but here we have all the varieties of unreligious experience, a full symphony of unbelief." --Free Inquiry
About the Author
Louise M. Antony is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of A Mind of One's Own and Chomsky and His Critics.
Top Customer Reviews
Philosophers Without Gods is a collection of essays by twenty leading philosophers from the United States and Britain, all of whom reject traditional religious faith and endorse the secular life.
In the Introduction, editor Louise M. Antony, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, writes, "A naturalistic understanding of the human condition reveals a set of heroic challenges--to pursue our goals without illusions, to act morally without hope of reward--challenges that, if taken up, can impart a durable value to finite and fragile human lives."
Permit me to coin a word: "anthropodicy." Whereas theodicy is "the defense of God's goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil" (Meriam-Webster Dictionary), anthropodicy is the rational defense of non-theistic, secular humanism. The philosophers in this volume present anthropodictic arguments for living without "gods."
Liberal theologians argue that there is no real conflict between science and religion, reason and faith. Many of them also accept the Darwinian theory of evolution and reject the claim made by Fundamentalists that the world was created by God some six thousand years ago.
Many traditional Christians, however, subscribe to a literal, fundamentalist creed that accepts Scripture as verbally inspired and infallible, and that seeks to excuse their God for the evil and suffering in the world, or, even worse, justify the God who perpetuates infinite evil by punishing billions of unbelievers eternally in the fiery, smoke-charred pits of hell.Read more ›
The second half of the collection - Reflections - contains more conventional philosophical essays that raise issues such as how one goes about defining the God in which one does or does not believe, alternatives to theism such as Aristotle's notion of human flourishing, self-deception, and how much "respect" theism deserves. Like all collections, some of these essays are more compelling than others but there are several gems here, such as David Owen's essay "Disenchantment" and Elizabeth Secord Anderson's survey of the morality in the Bible.
Overall, this is a well-written and accessible collection that exposes the issues between theists and atheists largely without philosophical jargon and the unfortunate, but all too frequentr, rancor that typically characteriszes those debates. (The reviewer is the author of The Search for Meaning: A Short History.)The Search for Meaning: A Short History
PHILOSOPHERS WITHOUT GODS is a wonderful collection of essays. Some are more philosophical than others. Personally I enjoyed the first part, `Journeys', the most. Here the writers describe their departure from belief into a secular life. Most of them hold no grudge against religion but rather lost their faith through youthful inquiry or perhaps a change of environment. One writer describes the clash of influences when he left the Jewish `yeshiva' and went to public school in Los Angeles. After years of studying the Talmud he found himself making friends with the hippies of the 1960s counterculture.
Most reviewers point out that the tone is milder than in many other books and even if that's generally true, it's not always the case. In part two, `Reflections', you'll find some more rigid reasoning and the essay by David Lewis is uncompromising, to say the least. He argues that a theist has to take Scripture literally to be able to call himself a Christian. There is no middle ground for a more liberal or modern interpretation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got this after my Mormon mission. Really helped understanding what atheism is beyond horror stories I had been taught growing up. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Andrew David Cutler
A Most Excellent Book
This is the best book I have read since September last year (2014). The book is a collection of essays by a number of academic philosophers. Read more
Some essays are worth the read, however many belabor the obvious. Not much new or worthy of mediation. There are too many personal stories for my liking.Published 21 months ago by Phillip Westermann
Reading each essay was like opening a different window onto the landscape of belief/non-belief. That is, each had something different--and valuable--to say. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Laura Bonazzoli
This is a strong collection of essays from Professors of Philosophy at mainly American universities (2 from UK). Read morePublished on January 7, 2014 by James L. Harvey
Worth the read. The essays provide multiple perspectives on atheism, non-theism, and agnosticism. At times the writers' stories begin to be somewhat repetitive and predictable,... Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by hornem
Great book, just after the 20th chapter things begin to generally repeat themselves. But it is still a must read for anyone interested in religion or what the other side thinks.Published on January 12, 2013 by Samuel
I'm writing as a Christian who greatly enjoyed this book despite the obvious opposition of the authors to what I hold sacred. Read morePublished on December 28, 2012 by Trent