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When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists Paperback – March 10, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
I think the title of "I Don't Believe in Atheists" is plain stupid. Beyond that, Hedges has some very interesting things to say about the interaction of religion (and nonreligion) with politics, and it's worth reading by anyone who has read any of the other recent literature about atheism.
But Hedges did himself a disservice by framing the book as a critique of Dawkins, Harris, etc. because in many cases he's totally misrepresenting what they wrote. He should have just stuck to writing his own ideas on the topic, as he has in his other books, and this book would have been much better. As it is, it just sounds like he's mad because the so-called "New Atheists" don't like what he believes in. Hedges is a better writer -- and thinker -- than that. It's a shame he didn't do his best writing in this book. But, then again, believers tend to become irate when people insult their gods.
I saw a debate between Chris Hedges and Sam Harris on this topic on TV a few months ago, and Hedges was completely incoherent. I had read some of his other writing (books and online) in the past and was hoping he'd do a better job in writing about this topic than he did in debating it.
Oh well. I bet his publisher was pushing him to rush his book to market. Too bad.
Well, for starters, I don't agree with much in this book; suprising, because I thought that I would. Of the scores of things Hedges could have challengd these atheists - Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens - on, Hedges manages to miss most of them and add some that are quite illigitimate. Had I written this book, I would have taken the three authors to task on a few things:
a.) their simplistic and baffling view that not only religious extremists, but moderates, are to be condemmed. (Isn't religion a tool? Just as people can do bad with it, so they can do good, depending on their motive?)
b.) these authors occasional faith-driven zeal, that given enough time, sceince will explain all of the things it has tried and failed to explain (like morality, even though science deals with 'is' rather than 'ought' questions. (And don't get me started on the idea of 'memes' as opposed to the older, more sensical, idea of 'ideas.')
c.) These authors' very frequent exhibitions of the type of fanatical extremism and dogmatism they rightly point out as a flaw of their opponents (fundamentalists).
The only of these Hedges hits on is the third. Hedges is not even primarily against atheism. He is, rather, against dogmatism and fanasticism, which he rightly sees exhibited in spades amongst these new 'public figure' atheists.Read more ›
He asserts that Harris's book was a "facile attack on a form of religious belief we all hate, his childish simplicity and ignorance of world affairs, as well as his demonization of Muslims, made the book tedious, at its best, and often idiotic and racist." (Pg. 2) He adds, "Harris, as well as atheists from Hitchens to Richard Dawkins to Daniel Dennett, has found a following amond people disgusted with the chauvinism, intolerance, anti-intellectualism and self-righteousness of religious fundamentalists. I wrote a book called American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. The Christian Right in the United States is the most frightening mass movement in American history. We dislike the same people. But we do not dislike them for the same reasons. This not a small difference." (Pg. 3)
He observes, "The new atheists...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is one long religious rant. It is a rant against science. It is a rant against reason. It is rant against Rene Descartes, David Hume, John Locke, Voltaire, Immanuel... Read morePublished 8 months ago by J. Alan Bock
i loved the balance and thoughtfulness Hedges brought to a much polarized issue, that of reason vs. faith - warning against any idealized utopia , weather one or the other, is... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dylan Rooke
Changes how you think and perceive the world we live in. Spectacular writing, ideas, and content conception. A+Published 12 months ago by blondie93
Very academic book. Great big words only professors at a university would use. However, book was interesting to a point.Published 13 months ago by Brad Fast
Hedges book is disorganized and obnoxiously repetitive, hence tedious to read, especially the first half. Read morePublished 15 months ago by tfarkas86
I must preface this comment by stating that I admire Hedges as a journalist and social activist.
Mr. Hedges argues that fundamentalism itself is dangerous. Read more
A thoughtful rebuttal to the new fundamentalist atheism movement. As an atheist/agnostic Buddhist with a spiritual bent, I like Hedges idea of the metaphorical value of... Read morePublished 20 months ago by William H. Burke
Hedges is great. A Spiritual Autopsy of Science and Religion is a totally different, and fantastic look at the excesses of atheist thought - from an atheist!Published 20 months ago by misterkel