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Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World Hardcover – December 1, 2015
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Silverman's methods are refreshingly honest. He uncompromisingly believes in equality for everyone and the end of religious privilege in America, and he is not afraid to fight, using words, to bring about that reality. –Library Journal
“David Silverman is the bad boy of atheism and we need people like him. There's a tiresome breed of so-called atheists called the "I'm-an-atheist-BUT-heads". They love to put the emphasis on the "but", and go out of their way to emphasize how deeply they respect all faith although, with mawkish regret, they can't actually share it. David Silverman is not of their number, and how refreshing it is to read a book that is not afraid to speak the truth, sans apology.” ―Richard Dawkins
"This is one of the more enjoyable atheist reads I've come across.... I came away from Fighting God with some new ideas (which is saying something considering I do this for a living)....[I]f we [atheists] buckle down, work together, and have some fun while we're at it, we can make a real difference in the world." ― JT Eberhard, American Atheist Magazine
“To get Americans to accept gays as citizens and neighbors, we needed sensible understated gay people, but we also needed flaming queens. As atheists strive to be understood and accepted...well, let's just say David is kind of a flaming queen and I love him. Fighting God is David having it and flaunting it.” ―Penn Jillette, New York Times best selling author of God, No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales
“In all developed Western nations the arc of the moral universe has been bending toward justice because of secular forces. Since the rise of the Religious Right, however, America has been held back. Until now. Thanks in part to firebrand freedom fighters like David Silverman, we atheists are on the march. Silverman's Reason Rally was just the start. His new manifesto will help take our movement to national prominence and into the corridors of power where we can effect real change.” ―Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, and author of The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom
“David Silverman is an uncompromising hardliner with a deeply compassionate heart...his voice is clear, passionate, thoughtful, and funny.” ―Greta Christina, author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry?
“A sometimes funny, always informative look into the mind behind America's frontline of atheism. Dave reminds us that religion is everyone's enemy.” ―Taslima Nasrin, International Freedom Fighter and author of Shame and Revenge
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250064848
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250064844
- Product Dimensions : 6.23 x 1 x 9.53 inches
- Publisher : Thomas Dunne Books; 1st Edition (December 1, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #558,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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“Fighting God" is an excellent plea for out-loud and proud atheism. President of American Atheists and proud advocate for firebrand atheism, David Silverman provides inspiration for social change and the tools do so. This stimulating 304-page book includes the following eleven chapters: 1. Atheist, Know Thyself, 2. The War Has Already Begun, and We Are Ethically Obligated to Fight, 3. Telling the Truth About the Lie of God, 4. Fighting the Good Fight, 5. Use, or at Least Understand, Firebrand Tactics, 6. Be Everywhere, 7. On Defining Morality Without God(s), 8. On Fighting Unpopular Battles (But Being Right), 9, On the Reason Rally, 10. Relish the Future, and 11. Moving Forward.
1. Clear thoughts and smooth prose makes for a fun read.
2. A great topic, a plea for atheist activism with an emphasis on the firebrand variety.
3. Heartfelt writing style that’s engaging, provocative and grounded on reason. Contrary to expectations this is a respectful book that grounds its ire toward unsubstantiated beliefs and not its victims.
4. Does a fantastic job of defining key terms and purpose. “By specifically using atheist as an identifier, you educate the public about atheism, attacking bigotry one listener at a time.”
5. As an avid reader and reviewer, one of the telltale signs of an excellent book is how often I highlight it and the quality of its ideas and perspectives. Silverman succeeds on both fronts. Silverman’s mastery of the topic is evidenced by his persuasive and lucid narrative backed by sound reason and conviction.
6. Provides countless examples of why atheism activism is important. “In November of 2014, the Texas State Board of Education made changes to its curriculum and, in a brazen act of dishonesty, changed its textbooks to include statements that imply Moses, the fictional character from the Bible, was instrumental in the founding of America, influencing the writing of the Constitution, and providing the foundation for democracy.” Bonus quote because it’s too good to pass up, “Religion does not own activism. If atheists remain passive, religion will win because its members will be the only ones who are active.”
7. The importance of separation of church and state, “That’s what a separation of religion and government means, and that is our big-picture goal—the removal of unearned, unwarranted, and un-American religious privilege from our society, starting with our government.”
8. Examples of Christian privilege. “Their mission does not give them the right to break the law, nor does it justify special privilege. That they want to break the law and their religion tells them to break the law doesn’t allow them to break the law. Laws that mandate equality (or the judges that enforce the law) aren’t antireligion just because religion craves superiority. If their religion is incompatible with the law, they, not we, have to suck it up and work within the law of the land. Pro-equality laws are only “anti-Christian” because Christianity is anti-equality, and this is their problem, not ours.”
9. A book based on sound logic. “Never once in the history of our species has any religion found, offered, or shown any verifiable and testable proof based on scientifically valid evidence and the scientific method (you know, the way we would prove anything else) of any supernatural being or phenomena.”
10. At the heart of this book is a plea for equality. “Realize that the idea of equality to women is threatening to some men, just as the idea of racial equality is threatening to some white people, because they perceive becoming equal as a loss of privilege. This is also the case for some Christians who fear losing privilege and becoming only equal to other religious and atheistic positions.”
11. Not afraid to call it as he sees it. “Cultures can be abandoned, but when you try to leave Judaism, you are told you can’t because it’s in your blood, which is a lie.”
12. Makes limited but effective use of scripture to prove key points. “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. —LEVITICUS 20:13”
13. Explains why firebrand tactics work. “Firebrand atheism is simply telling the truth, with the emphasis on telling. There is a difference between telling the truth only when cornered and proactively speaking what you know to be truthful, helpful, and healthy, and the latter is where I live. Silence often implies acquiescence or even agreement, and often that makes it a lie.”
14. An effective explanation on why atheists need to be ubiquitous in the political system. “Ubiquity must be demonstrated.”
15. A look at morality without gods. “All humans have their own morality, which is fluid between people, and, on a societal level, across space and time.”
16. One of the standout chapters of this book is on fighting unpopular battles. “For example, thanks to the Faith-Based Initiative, churches provide many services using our tax dollars that should be provided by secular charities, yet the churches do so without the same oversight or employment rules.”
17. Some numbers will blow you away. “According to Professor Ryan Cragun, churches cost America about $71 billion per year in nonprofit property-tax exemptions alone.”
18. A look at demographics and the future of atheism in America. “If all current trends continue, we will hit 31 percent none in ten years based on numbers alone.”
19. An excellent summary chapter that revisits the main topics covered in this insightful book. “Since religion is inherently and demonstrably harmful to society and moral progress, atheism holds the moral high ground.”
20. Excellent collection of appendices that cover a number of interesting topics (from free will, speeches, religion in public schools, etc…)
1. The graphs provided are great on larger reading devices but unfortunately suffers in the Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Voyage.
2. The On “Proofs” sections lack depth, Silverman acknowledges that there are many atheist books that cover these topics in greater detail.
3. Those seeking a technical philosophical retort to popular theistic beliefs will be disappointed; this is not that kind of book. This is a more inspirational, practical and activist book, a manifesto.
4. No formal bibliography.
In summary, this is an excellent manifesto and another great contribution to my atheist library. The greatest asset of this book is the inspiration and necessity for activism and the framing of the discussion. President of American Atheists, David Silverman shares his experiences and knowledge with a practical and lucid approach. A fun and engaging book geared more toward atheists in the shadows but one that should be read by all. I highly recommend it!
Further recommendations: “A Manual for Creating Atheists” by Peter Boghossian, “Fighting Back the Right” by David Niose, “Unstoppable” by Bill Nye, “Soul Fallacy” by Julien Musolino,”Faith vs Fact” by Jerry A. Coyne, “How to Defend the Christian Faith” and “The Christian Delusion” by John W. Loftus, “Natural Atheism” by Dr. David Eller, "Man Made God: A Collection of Essays" by Barbara G. Walker, “Why I’m Not a Christian” by Richard Carrier, “The Dark Side of Christian History” by Helen Ellerbe, “Atheism for Dummies” by Dale McGowan, “The Atheist Universe” by David Mills, “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, “The God Argument” by A.C. Grayling, “Good Thinking” and “50 Simple Questions for Every Christian” by Guy P. Harrison, “Godless” by Dan Barker, “Moral Combat” by Sikivu Hutchinson, and “Society Without God” by Phil Zuckerman.
Top reviews from other countries
I'd have preferred it if he wasn't so US centric but this is a small quibble as he is president of the American Atheists after all, and not the World Atheists. Maybe that's his next step...
If you are a theist who has wanted to understand non-believers better, you should read the book. If you are an atheist who wants to fully engage move in the movement, you should read the book. If you are a non-believer who doesn't want to be called an atheist, you should definitely read the book because you're an atheist and David is going to tell you why.
The book is fascinating, well researched, passionate and wonderfully honest. It will make you think and make you smile all at the same time. Then it will make you get off the sofa and get engaged, no matter what side of the fence you fall on.