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Voices of Unbelief: Documents from Atheists and Agnostics (Voices of an Era) Hardcover – September 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1598849783 ISBN-10: 1598849786 Edition: annotated edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Voices of an Era
  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood; annotated edition edition (September 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598849786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598849783
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,562,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


• Presents annotated documents by atheists and agnostics across 3,000 years and four continents

• Brings suppressed medieval voices into the conversation

• Widens the cultural scope beyond Europe and America by including documents from nonbelievers in China, India, Africa, and the Arab world

• Offers an accessible approach that will appeal to general readers as well as high school and university students

• Documents include book and diary excerpts, letters, blogs, and video and radio scripts, bringing historical settings and individual lives into focus

• A chronology helps place the writings and writers in history and in relation to each other

"Written for an advanced high school or introductory college course, this encyclopedia is a welcome primer on the subject. . . . McGowan allows the documents in this reference work to speak for themselves (no pun intended). High school and academic libraries with a focus on religious studies will want to add this invaluable resource to their collections."



"McGowan, a noted humanist scholar, has succeeded admirably in packaging a reader on this controversial topic for high school and college students."



"Strengths of this text are the many resources that will help readers engage with and understand the material, and the array of perspectives from different eras, regions, cultures, and social groups. Overall, a helpful primer on the many different perspectives on a complex subject."


Library Journal

Book Description

Unbelief is manifest in the denials of 15th-century atheists caught in the net of the Inquisition and in the letters of an 18th-century priest revealing doubts to his parishioners. It is found in writings from China, India, and the Arab world and in the doctrine of early feminists. Unbelief is controversial, thought provoking, and a most interesting window into the past—and present.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Voices of Unbelief is conceived of (and priced as) a reference book, and it should be in libraries everywhere. With its table of contents chock full of nontheistic and antitheistic writing from ancient times to the present day, it also belongs on the departmental resource shelves of humanities, religious studies, science, and philosophy departments of universities and colleges.

Editor Dale McGowan provides notes, comment, and context to walk the reader through each selection, and he includes everything from canonical philosophers to best-selling writers to comedians. It is a unique resource that will be valued by anyone seeking honest and comprehensive discourse on the "great divide" between belief and unbelief.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MSC on September 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Voices of Unbelief beautifully captures the diverse and unique voices that make up the often misunderstood group known as the "nones". As a homeschooling mom who includes world religions as part of our studies, I purchased this book to give my daughter a chance to hear all voices, not just those of believers. Though not limited to being used as a textbook, it is formatted for that use if desired. Each document starts with an introduction and includes definitions, what happened to the writer of each document, things to consider, and links for more information related to the document's content.

Dale McGowan was thorough in gathering these documents throughout history and from around the world. I was surprised at the broad range of voices he was able to find considering how often in history the written word that went against the dominant faith was destroyed. Many writers share his or her thoughts and life experiences that led to the reasoning for dismissing the idea of god. Others share their questioning or use humor that leads to the same conclusion. With great passion the voices that rise from these pages will provide enriching company and conversation to those who don't believe, as well as thoughtful challenges to consider for those who do.

No matter what you believe, Voices of Unbelief will give you plenty to think about from many brilliant minds, past and present, who valued reason and concluded there is no god.
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6 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jake on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Reviewing the contents, you will see that most of this is available for free on the web. A 100 Bucks for it seems way out of line, considering the market. Libraries could lay out their hard earned tax dollars for far better materials, in quantity and quality.
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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.

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