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Book Reviews: Books on Atheism, Atheists, Nonbelief in Gods

Atheism is often misunderstood and sometimes reviled - but it deserves neither. There aren't enough books which really do a good job at explaining what it is and help people to understand what it is about, but those that do exist are reviewed here. Find out what they say, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they compare to other books on atheism.
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Fear, Faith, Fact, Fantasy, by John A. Henderson
Many people seek solace from the world's troubles in religion; at the same time, though, many of the world's troubles can be traced directly back to religion and religious conflicts. How can religion be both a source of comfort and a source of conflict like this? One reason may be the reluctance of people to question it - by avoiding tough...

Gathering of Infidels: the Rationalist Press Association
Freethought has a long and complicated history in Britain, a history which few people are even dimly aware of. Most of the figures, organizations, debates, and conflicts have all but disappeared in history, a tremendous loss for freethinkers today because the lives of these people and work of these organizations still have lessons to teach us...

Tilting at Religion
The pervasive influence of religion in modern America cannot be denied. Unfortunately, more critical and skeptical discussions about that role tend to be suppressed - when we hear about religion it tends to be in an unequivocal positive light and any critical observations tend to be limited to other people’s religion, never one’s own.

Natural Atheism
Religion, particularly forms of religion that are fundamentalist or fervent in nature, have experienced explosive growth in recent decades. Many have found this to be strange, considering that great scientific, social, and political progress made made in secular circles. What could be going on? What are people looking for that they don't find in...

UnGodly: The Passions, Torments, and Murder of Madalyn Murray O’Hair
The disappearance and death of Madalyn Murray O’Hair has been great fodder for all sorts of tawdry stories. O’Hair wasn’t a popular person nor did she ever try to be, but once she was gone and no longer able to respond to critics, it seems as though even more vile and nasty attacks appeared than were there when she was still alive.

The Impossibility of God
Does God exist? There's a great deal of debate on this question and theologians have spent hundreds of years developing many sophisticated (and some not so sophisticated) arguments purporting to prove that their god definitely exists. Nonbelievers have been at work on the matter for far less time, but they have a great deal to show for their...

A Rebel to His Last Breath: Joseph McCabe and Rationalism
Just who was Joseph McCabe? Many freethinkers and atheists are familiar with the name, and quite a few have read at least a couple of his many works. But how many really know anything about him - where he came from, what his views were like, etc.? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is "not many," but this recent book by Bill Cooke...

Atheism, Morality, and Meaning
Morality has played an important role in both religion and theism throughout human history. So deeply intertwined have the two been that most people today sincerely believe that morality isn't possible outside of religion or, at the very least, without belief in God. As a consequence, atheists are commonly thought of as being immoral and lacking...

God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong
Just about all of the central doctrines of the world's major religions are matters of truth or falsehood, not opinion. This means that these doctrines are either true or false - but proving them true or false is a tricky matter. While science has demonstrated that most of these doctrines are unlikely, it is the nature of science that basic religious beliefs won't be proven absolutely false.

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
Secularism and freethought have played important roles in the development of American society, culture, and politics, yet they are roles which have been forgotten or ignored. Americans tend to hear about and be familiar with the role of religion in their nation's history while freethinkers and skeptics are marginalized. This is a tragedy and a...

Why Atheism?
So why would anyone be an atheist? Why would any question the existence of a supernatural deity, something believed in by a large percentage of people in society? Is there any reasonable basis for atheism and such skepticism - and, if so, what is it?

The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Madalyn Murray O'Hair is a figure who resonates strongly for people across America - unfortunately, that resonance is negative for most of those who recognize her name. She has become The Atheist in popular imagination - but who was she and how did she get into that position?

H.L. Mencken on Religion
People today tend to be too polite to criticize religion. Even gentle and mild criticisms of religion are considered "off-limits," especially in the popular media, lest one be considered bigoted. That is, after all, just the sort of reaction we have seen to criticisms of how the Roman Catholic Church has handled its problems with abusive priests

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Atheism
Debates over atheism and theism have occupied many of the greatest thinkers, philosophers and theologians through history. Unfortunately, we don't see many such debates today - but that doesn't mean that the question is no longer important. Which really is superior, belief or disbelief in the existence of a god?

God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist
Debates about the existence of God fascinate some and bore others; nevertheless, they have occupied a great deal of philosophical, theological, and scientific interest over the centuries. Many of the arguments currently used are very old, while others are based upon recent developments in science and philosophy. Has either side developed an...

Atheism: A Philosophical Justification
Is it possible to create a thorough and philosophical defense of atheism and critique of theism? Absolutely, and Michael Martin has done just that in his massive book published in 1990.

Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies
Is it possible that there is actually some positive value in being a heretic, someone who chooses to follow a path different from what the rest of society tells them to travel? According to George H. Smith, there absolutely is, and in an effort to explain how and why, he addresses a wide variety of topics in this book.

What Is Atheism? A Short Introduction
What is atheism, and why would anyone be an atheist? Is it possible for an atheist to lead a moral, meaningful life? These are just a few of the questions which so many atheists encounter in their lives, and they aren't always easy to give satisfactory answers for.

Atheist Debater's Handbook
Are there good reasons to be an atheist? Are the arguments for theism sound, or can they be rebutted? Many books have been written on these topics, but most of them have been by theologians and philosophers, and are not as accessible to most people as one might like.

Arguing for Atheism: An Introduction
Can a case be made for positive atheism, that is to say, that there is no personal creator of the universe who has an independent existence outside of our own minds? Robin Le Poidevin certainly thinks so, and attempts to make the case in the context of an introduction to the philosophy of religion which could be used in college courses on the...

Atheism: The Case Against God
Is theism a reasonable and rational position, or can a better case be made for atheism and against faith in the existence of gods? The goal of George Smith's books is to demonstrate that irrational beliefs are in fact harmful and that theism and religion are prime examples of irrationality.

Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist
Is it possible for a fundamentalist preacher, dedicated to spreading the Word of God, to have doubts about religion and even abandon it entirely, becoming an atheist activist? It certainly is - and if you are interested in learning more about how such a development can take place and what it means to a person, Dan Barker's book is exactly what...

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