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Atheist Universe Paperback – April 6, 2003
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"Davids work will be very useful for anyone combating harmful religious beliefs. Honest, frank, and right to the point!" -- Albert Ellis, Ph.D., father of modern psychotherapy, author of 'A Guide to Rational Living' and 54 other books.
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Among the author's offerings are: "Americans believe 58% to 40% that it is necessary to believe in God to be moral. By contrast, only 13% of Europeans agree with the US view...I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose (from Clarence Darrow)...I've always considered atheism to be a very positive philosophy in that, by eliminating a very burdensome obligation to appease a non-existent God, an individual thereby gains maximum freedom to choose his own goals and ideals for a satisfying life...(about public prayer in school) Let's remember that Jesus warned the Pharisees NOT to pray publicly because such prayers were usually pretentious, insincere efforts to showboat...My own observation is that those most terrified of death are not atheists, but believers, uncertain whether they are going to Heaven or Hell...Historically, whenever primitive man lacked scientific understanding of an observed event, he created a 'God of the Gaps' to fill the intellectual vacuum...The wider the gaps in scientific understanding, the greater the historic need for a miracle working 'GOTG'...As a general historic observation, each step forward taken by science has further distanced the hand of God from perceived intervention into natural events. As humanity's gaps of knowledge were slowly replaced by scientific understanding, a GOTG found fewer and fewer caverns of intellectual darkness in which to live...Believers create the illusion of answered prayer by systematically employing the fallacy known as 'Selective Observation,' a perceptual error also referred to as 'Counting the hits and ignoring the misses.'...The more tragic the event - and the higher the body count - the more inclined are the media to feature 'Miracle Survivors' on the six o'clock news...When, however, everyone dies in a catastrophe, such as a Jumbo Jet crash, the newspaper headline never reads 'Jehovah Out To Lunch During Doomed Flight.'...In plain English, we don't know why specific individuals live or die in disasters. We know that Christians are no more likely to survive than non-Christians; and the virtuous are just as likely to perish as thy corrupt...The Christian Church wholeheartedly believes this 'Divine' biblical prophecy, which announces that the vast majority of humanity will follow the wrong road in life and will, as a result end up in Hell instead of Heaven. God - in his infinite wisdom - would have known in advance that most of humanity would have fallen victim to the gruesome torture chamber...a truely benevolent and omnipotent God would let bygones be bygones and forgive 'sinners' even though they adopted mistaken religious beliefs...But, Christians respond, 'without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin. And God only asks that we accept the blood sacrifice that Jesus offered for us on the cross.' And who, may I ask, established this rule that 'without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin'? The answer, again, is God....The fact that God supposedly demands blood before He offers forgiveness is indicative of the bestial mindset of the primitive cultures extant when the Bible was written...The myth of Hell represents all the meanness, all the revenge, all the selfishness, all the cruelty, all the hatred, all the infamy of which the heart of man is capable...God was indeed created in man's own image...The two documents upon which our country was founded - ie, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States contain not a single word about Christianity, Christian principles, the Bible, or Jesus Christ...The Christian clergy of the Revolutionary period tried again and again to have references to Christianity inserted directly into the US Constitution, but they were refused every time by the Founders. Two 'Christian principles' may have indeed influenced the Founding Fathers. One was the Puritan practice of executing witches, the other was King George III's absolute mandate that his subjects worship in a manner approved by the Church of England...Witch burning and mandatory church affiliation are only 2 of many issues which led the Founding Fathers to establish a 'Wall of Separation between Church and State,' allowing, at each citizen's discretion, freedom of religion or freedom FROM religion...The National Motto was not changed to 'In God We Trust' until 1956. Likewise, the phrase 'under God' was not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954."
Please forgive all the quotes making this a long review, but there is so much here to agree with, it's hard to stop. This book gives you a 50 yard line ticket to a comprehensive discussion of belief vs non-belief, yet is fun to read. The chapter on Hell is great; the chapter on the origin of the universe and solar systems is among the best explanations I've ever read; the "Interview With an Atheist" chapter should become a classic; the quotes by famous men who are atheists are priceless; I LOVED the short chapter about the Founding Fathers, etc.
A very well deserved 5 stars for this book.
The book lives up to Mills' promise in the introduction to challenge conventional wisdom and use extreme conciseness and clarity for his message. He describes his writing style as slow and deliberate, taking years to complete the book. He quotes Thomas Jefferson, who, in a letter to John Adams, wrote "I apologize to you for the lengthiness of this letter; but I had no time for shortening it."
With this book David Mills has delivered a coup d'etat to any thought of reconciling religion and science. Post-modernist apologies and attempts to bridge the gap between religion and science he gives no quarter. He very carefully and methodically attacks every religious argument outside the realm of human invention for the existence of a god. His favorite target is the irrationality of Christian belief and the Bible's contention of a young earth, Noah's flood, Genesis genealogies, etc. One rather interesting point he made in an almost casual manner was an observation that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke of the New Testament describe (contradictory) detailed male lineages of Jesus back to King David, and thereby create a trap for the writers of those books: the virgin birth would preclude any blood relationship through Joseph, so how could there be a lineage between Jesus and David? In debunking the prophesy of the Bible, Mills describes an absence of accuracy, noting that as far as accuracy is concerned, the Bible is a non-prophet organization.
He clarifies a number of scientific terms abused by religionists. For example, Physical Laws he defines as human descriptions of observed phenomena, rather than universal truths, and therefore subject to revision as new observations warrant. He tackles head-on the idea that the universe was created from nothing into something at the Big Bang. Rather, he offers proof through the Laws of Thermodynamics (conservation of mass/energy) that the universe was always here in one form or another. This argument had a particular resonance with me, as I have long had problems with the something from nothing idea of a single Big Bang jump-starting the universe.
Mills says he wrote this book for the forty percent of Americans "... open-minded readers who are not afraid to learn - in fact who are eager and fascinated to learn - about the many conflicts and controversies between science and the Christian Bible." My atheist and freethought friends will highly appreciate his hard-hitting candor and rock-solid enthusiasm for the scientific method, and will put this book at the very top of their arsenal of argument material for combat with religionists. Many of my theist friends who accidentally are exposed to it will probably have major heartburn and relegate it to the trash bin, if they dont outright burn it. But perhaps a few of them will be swayed by Mills flawless logic and lucidity of expression. I will cherish this book and keep it with my major reference works.
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