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The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism Hardcover – March 26, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Debunks the teleological, ontological and cosmological arguments employed throughout Christendom for the literal existence of God…Those looking for a succinct analysis of these centuries old debates will appreciate Grayling's insights.” ―The Washington Post, "On Faith"

“London-based academic and philosopher Grayling (To Set Prometheus Free, 2010, etc.) has the sharp analytical mind of fellow naysayer Richard Dawkins, though he is gentler about saying no to God or god or gods...readers looking for fire-and-brimstone contrarianism will want to turn to Dawkins or the late Christopher Hitchens instead. Mild though the rebuke is, a readable and persuasvie argument - if, of course, an exercise in preaching to the choir.” ―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

A.C. Grayling is professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of the acclaimed Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan, Descartes: The Life and Times of a Genius, Toward the Light of Liberty: The Struggles for Freedom and Rights That Made the Modern Western World, and, most recently, The Good Book: A Humanist Bible. A former fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos and past chairman of the human rights organization June Fourth, he contributes frequently to the Times, Financial Times, Economist, New Statesman, and Prospect. Grayling's play "Grace," co-written with Mick Gordon, was acclaimed in London and New York. He lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620401908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620401903
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism by A.C. Grayling

"The God Argument" is a very respectful, thought-provoking and accessible book that addresses the case against religion while making the compelling case for a superior ethical way of living, humanism. Accomplished author and English philosopher, A.C. Grayling, provides the reader with an excellent modern reference to the most important philosophical questions of ethics and morality. This stimulating 288-page book is broken into two parts: Part I - Against Religion, and Part II - For Humanism.

Positives:
1. Elegant dignified prose. The author is very respectful and treats this fascinating topic with utmost respect and care.
2. A philosophical focus on the most interesting topic, religion.
3. The author has a great command of the topic and does a masterful job of keeping it an accessible level without compromising the intellectual core of the topic.
4. The reality of contesting religion. "Contesting religion is like engaging in a boxing match with jelly: it is a shifting, unclear, amorphous target, which every blow displaces to a new shape".
5. You never feel lost in this book. The author does a great job of staying focused on the task in hand, "In my view, the argument against religion is an argument for the liberation of the human mind, and the possibility of at last formulating an ethical outlook that humankind can share, thus providing a basis for a much more integrated and peaceful world."
6. Does a good job of defining terms smoothly within the context of the narrative.
7.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There has been a growing concern, bordering on fear, of what religious groups have labelled "The New Atheism". The proponents upon which that label has been pinned are "Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris. A previous reviewer, full of Christian charity, hopes to discredit Grayling by casting him together with Dawkins and Hitchens, and claiming that Grayling does not introduce "enough interesting new ideas to satisfy someone who has read "The God Delusion" or "God is Not Great" (written by Dawkins and Hitchens respectively). That is neither a fair nor accurate statement - it is no different from saying that we should find that Rick Warren or any other Christian writer has nothing original to say if we have read the Bible. The allusion by that reviewer is also unfair and unkind to Dawkins and company. Although none of them had called himself a "New Atheist", nonetheless, it is no different from a Christian calling himself a "born-again Christian". Such descriptions can be used by all parties neutrally without aspersions of moral inadequacy.

In the general sense, anyone who thinks about life is a philosopher. Grayling is different only in that he makes philosophy his vocation; Dawkins is a scientist, and Hitchens was a journalist and writer. This is a deep, thoughtful book for intelligent, well-read, and open-minded people who are interested in knowing the case against religion. Grayling does more than that. In the second part of his book he presents an argument for Humanism, of which, contrary to the previous reviewer's claim, Grayling has a great deal to say.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent read! The book is divided into two sections. Section 1 evaluates common arguments in support of theism and shows how they are incoherent, inconsistent, or unnecessary - in particular unnecessary in forming the basis for ethics and morality. The second section lays out the way in which secular humanism may contribute to various ethical and moral issues. The writing is intelligent, witty, wise, sensitive, and compelling. Grayling is one of the most eloquent voices in contemporary “atheism” and secular humanism. Inspiring and hopeful.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is divided into two parts. The first part is "Against Religion" and the second part is "For Humanism". This is a 260 page book so the two fairly even halves are barely over 100 pages each. Given that, neither can cover these very large and complex topics in depth. Secondly it is written for the intelligent layman. The only knock I have is that it tried to cover too much too lightly. However, taking it for what it is and what it attempts, it does it very well.

Grayling writes very differently and less directly than many other atheists like Dawkins or Harris for example. He is attempting in this book to make very large points and not get caught up in the the details. That's very important in considering the content in this book. You have to take his big picture views. To do otherwise would be to expect this book to be much, much longer.

Grayling makes his sweeping points very well and takes up just a few issues as examples. I do think this is a very good introduction to what is wrong with religion and what is right about humanism. For me Grayling is already preaching to the choir but I still benefited from his insights. I would have profited from this book when I was young and struggling with these questions and I think others will as well.

Recommended.
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