Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Michel Onfray (E-Book)

October 3, 2008

This tightly argued, hugely controversial work convincingly demonstrates how the world’s three major monotheistic religions-Christianity, Judaism, and Islam-have attempted to suppress knowledge, science, pleasure, and desire, often condemning nonbelievers to death. If Nietzsche proclaimed the “Death of God,” Onfray starts from the premise that not only is God still very much alive, but increasingly controlled by fundamentalists who pose a danger to the human race. Documenting the ravages from religious intolerance over the centuries, the author makes a strong case against the three religions for demanding faith, belief, obedience and submission, and for extolling the “next life” at the expense of the here and now. Not since Nietzsche has a work so groundbreaking and explosive appeared to question the role of the world’s dominant religions.

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Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris (E-Book)

October 2, 2008

Review
“A breath of fresh fire.”–Wall Street Journal

“This combination of ruthless argument with polemic designed to provoke (he describes the Catholic Church as the “institution that has produced and sheltered an elite army of child-molesters”) will further delight Harris’ supporters and infuriate his critics.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Harris has consolidated his disdain for religion in a withering attack on Christianity, delivered in the form of an open letter. . . . Mr. Harris wants to grab your lapels and give you a good shake. . . . [he] makes a good case for a new and intellectually honest conversation about morality and human suffering.”–NY Observer

“As infidels go, Harris is an astonishingly successful one. . . . Letter is a readable, exhortatory screed.”–Newsweek

“Bracing.”–The Nation

“[Letter to a Christian Nation] crackles with a focused, potent energy. . . . [Harris’] arguments resonate with a satisfying common sense.”–Contra Costa Times

“Sam Harris’s elegant little book is most refreshing and a wonderful source of ammunition for those who, like me, hold to no religious doctrine. Yet I have some sympathy also with those who might be worried by his uncompromising stance. Read it and from your own view, but do not ignore its message.”
–Sir Roger Penrose, emeritus professor of mathematics, Oxford University,
author of The Road to Reality

“Reading Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation was like sitting ring side, cheering the champion, yelling ‘Yes!’ at every jab. For those of us who feel depressed by this country’s ever increasing unification of church and state, and the ever decreasing support for the sciences that deliver knowledge and reduce ignorance,

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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (E-Book)

October 2, 2008

From Publishers Weekly
Hitchens, one of our great political pugilists, delivers the best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos. The same contrarian spirit that makes him delightful reading as a political commentator, even (or especially) when he’s completely wrong, makes him an entertaining huckster prosecutor once he has God placed in the dock. And can he turn a phrase!: “monotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few nonevents.” Hitchens’s one-liners bear the marks of considerable sparring practice with believers. Yet few believers will recognize themselves as Hitchens associates all of them for all time with the worst of history’s theocratic and inquisitional moments. All the same, this is salutary reading as a means of culling believers’ weaker arguments: that faith offers comfort (false comfort is none at all), or has provided a historical hedge against fascism (it mostly hasn’t), or that “Eastern” religions are better (nope). The book’s real strength is Hitchens’s on-the-ground glimpses of religion’s worst face in various war zones and isolated despotic regimes. But its weakness is its almost fanatical insistence that religion poisons “everything,” which tips over into barely disguised misanthropy.

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The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever by Christopher Hitchens (Audio Book)

September 30, 2008

From Publishers Weekly
Interconnecting a vast range of sources from Lucretius to more contemporary authors, Hitchens brings together a mix of naysayers and skeptics regarding religion and, in particular, God. While not all of his selections are by fervent atheists, Hitchens connects them in such a way as to explore how and why people have rejected religious beliefs throughout the ages. Additionally, he provides valuable introductions to many of the pieces, situating them for the listener in the context of his overall argument. While some provide great insight and questions for listeners, others are only tangentially relevant. Nicholas Ball has an agreeable voice, but when transitioning from introductions to the excerpt, he rarely pauses and listeners may not even realize the excerpt is being read. His timing and speed may work well with other material, but lacks the reflection and nuance needed for this diverse and complex work with many different writing styles.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc

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The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris (Audio Book)

September 30, 2008

The End of Faith by Sam Harris is a genuinely frightening book about terrorism, and the central role played by religion in justifying and rewarding it. Others blame “extremists” who “distort” the “true” message of religion. Harris goes to the root of the problem: religion itself. Even moderate religion is a menace, because it leads us to respect and “cherish the idea that certain fantastic propositions can be believed without evidence”. Why do men like Bin Laden commit their hideous cruelties? The answer is that they “actually believe what they say they believe”. Read Sam Harris and wake up.

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Audio Book)

September 30, 2008

From Scientific American
Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, tells of his exasperation with colleagues who try to play both sides of the street: looking to science for justification of their religious convictions while evading the most difficult implications—the existence of a prime mover sophisticated enough to create and run the universe, “to say nothing of mind reading millions of humans simultaneously.” Such an entity, he argues, would have to be extremely complex, raising the question of how it came into existence, how it communicates —through spiritons!—and where it resides. Dawkins is frequently dismissed as a bully, but he is only putting theological doctrines to the same kind of scrutiny that any scientific theory must withstand. No one who has witnessed the merciless dissection of a new paper in physics would describe the atmosphere as overly polite.

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