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The Atheist's Guide to Christmas Paperback – November 2, 2010
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“[E]ntertaining and enlightening… The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas is not only for atheists…nor is it an anti-religious rant or deep philosophical treatise. In essence… a good gift for anyone with a sense of humor.” (Technorati.com)
From the Back Cover
What do you get an atheist for Christmas?
If you're an atheist, you don't believe in the three wise men, so this Christmas, we bring you not three, but forty-two wise men and women, bearing gifts of comedy, science, philosophy, the arts, and knowledge. What does it feel like to be born on Christmas day? How can you most effectively use lights to make your house visible from space? And where can you listen to the echoes of the Big Bang on December 25? The Atheist's Guide to Christmas answers all these questions and more:
- Richard Dawkins tells an original Christmas story.
- Phil Plait fact-checks the Star of Bethlehem.
- Neal Pollack teaches his family a lesson on holiday spirit.
- Simon Singh offers a very special scientific experiment.
- Simon le Bon loses his faith (but keeps church music).
- AC Grayling explains how to have a truly happy Christmas.
Plus thirty-six other brilliant, funny, free-thinking pieces perfect for anyone who doesn't think of holidays as holy days.
All author advances and royalties for The Atheist's Guide to Christmas will go to Terrence Higgins Trust.
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Top Customer Reviews
So I forwarded the request to many atheists I knew, some well known and others, not so much. Then I set out to write the truth about being born on Christmas.
After sending a first draft to Ariane I got a response that sent me through the roof. I was giddy with excitement because I knew I was going to have my scratching publish within the same pages as; Richard Dawkins, Charlie Brooker, Ben Goldacre, Phil Plait, AC Grayling, Richard Herring, Simon Le Bon and my friend, Matt Kirshen. And while all of these people of note have written wonderful stories, filled with amazing anecdotes, sound advice and absolutely wonderful and well spirited humor, I was thoroughly stunned after opening my personal copy to page 91 where I found Nick Doody's offering.
Nick is a wonderfully funny stand up comedian and writer. He is very close friends with Matt Kirshen and I am proud to say that I have, on a number of occasions, had the chance to hang out with him. He's charming, extremely original in his comedic style and always spot on with perfectly structured stories and ideally placed punchlines.
How To Understand Christmas: A Scientific Overview by Nick Doody is a work of pure genius. His laser guided satire has it's way with not just the idea of Christmas, the word itself and rituals surrounding it, he takes the art of written word and annihilates the very medium as well.Read more ›
Some of the more famous - such as Richard Dawkins, are along side less than well known (well form most people anyway) the novelist Kapka Kabossova (sp). What I really appreciated was the variety of perspectives on a subject which is, of course, pertinent. Why do atheists celebrate Christmas?
The first section on science I found the most interesting. The Jewish astronomer (I've forgotten his name off hand) was wonderful. His early years discussing the lack of Christmas celebrations in his family, and his own fascination with the sky and the supposed phenomena of a super-star at the time of Christ's birth was beautiful.
The rise of the pagan and pre-christian celebrations of a mid-winter festival and the forms it took - including all the mythical links to Christian and Christmas celebrations offer a much deeper perspective into the human psyche.
After about 30 of these peices I started to lose interest, I found that they were a lot of the same kind of thing. One man who was a bit of a christmas hater, who went to the Middle east one year for teh festive season to escape it.
The essential message is that the Christmas spirit is there, and it is not about the birth of Christ and 3 wise men. The humanity of the midwinter festivals is about hope, eating, giving gifts, sharing time together, laughter, revelry, and new dawns. Pretty much what our festival is about these days.Read more ›
My favorite chapter is "How To Escape From Christmas" by Andrew Mueller. People who try to opt out of Christmas dinners are usually either dismissed as Scrooges or immediately invited to the house of everyone with an extra chair, which means instead of guiltlessly staying at home by the fire with your feet up, a good book, and a cup of cocoa, you now have to delicately explain that you don't WANT to spend Christmas with your generous-but-misguided friend (in case it requires explanation, "misguided" here means they've just been told you want to spend Christmas by yourself, and assume you're angling for a dinner invitation).
I LOVE Mueller's suggestion for dealing with this - get on a plane late on December 24th that will be refueling in some conveniently non-Christian spot, and arrive in Australia on December 26th for beaches and sunshine. I think I'll try this next year.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book because it was recommended by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Given that their mission is to keep church and state separate, I was dismayed by all the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by California Freethinker
An interesting read that looks into the lives and minds of 42 well-know people in the atheist and skeptic communities along with their thoughts and traditions surrounding one of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Shane Clements
Was much better than expected. Not only for atheists, very interesting read with very different points of view. This book is a keeper!Published on December 16, 2013 by Kotzur, S.
In the first place, it's not a guide. Secondly, what the various celebrities state about the subject is rather obvious. All in all, a boring read.Published on January 5, 2013 by Paola Daziani
I picked this up quite cheap and find myself flummoxed buy it.
I could use a rigorous examination of how Christmas was hijacked from Saturnalia. Read more
Ariane Sherine writes in her "Welcome" to this 2009 book, "What you will find are forty-two brilliant contributions from the world's most entertaining atheist scientists,... Read morePublished on May 9, 2011 by Steven H Propp