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Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness (Oberon Masters) Hardcover – 17 Feb 2007


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Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness (Oberon Masters) + To Set Prometheus Free: Religion, Reason and Humanity + The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Oberon Books Ltd (17 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840027282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840027280
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy and Master of the New College of the Humanities, London. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has written and edited many books, both scholarly and for a general readership, and has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news. He is a former Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, Patron of the UK Armed Forces Humanist association, Patron of Dignity in Dying, a former Booker Prize Judge, a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society, a member of the human rights group IHEU represented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva; and much more.

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About the Author

A C Grayling is a Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, a Supernumary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. The author of numerous, a regular contributor to the press and a frequent broadcaster, he is the co-author with Mick Gordon of the play On Religion, also published by Oberon Books.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Jack Richardson on 17 April 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the first Grayling book that I have read, and I'm very impressed. Although short, it is a classic example of quality rather than quantity - good points, well made, beautifully written, and attractively bound.

I won't compare it directly to "The God Delusion" (Dawkins) because it is a totally different kind of book (philosophical rather than scientific) but where Dawkins takes rather a long time to explain his (sometimes quite obscure) points, Grayling sums up what it means to live in a world without god(s) in succinct, satisfying chapters.

If you do believe in god (and I totally respect your right to do so...) then I still challenge you to read Grayling's book, and reflect on its sentiments. Many of us atheists have done the same with books such as "The Dawkins Delusion" (McGrath).

Enjoy!
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By M. Nelson on 8 Aug 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm thinking of buying copies as gifts for people who don't appear to understand the meaning of secularism, or who keep going on about Prof Richard Dawkins and others being 'fundamentalist atheists' (there's no such thing, says Grayling). I like the contents and I like the neat little hard-back binding.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful By M. de Boer on 26 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a small booklet about why we shouldn't respect religion a priori, about Intelligent Design, and morality; it explains why there's no such thing as a fundamentalist atheist, and what's the difference between the words atheist, secularist, and humanist. Grayling prefers the word "naturalist" instead of atheist (the contrary of "supernaturalist", being any religious person), and he defends why quite convincingly. I read it in one afternoon, and although it's not a bad book at all, I didn't find any new, eye-opening issues in it. This is probably due to the fact I recently read The God Delusion (Dawkins), The End Of Faith, Letter To A Christian Nation (Harris), and Losing Faith in Faith (Barker), which cover the same issues thoroughly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike on 27 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover
The fact that there are lots of reviews here ridiculing this book is a good sign that it is worth reading if you want to balance up in your mind other points of view to theology.

Much of Grayling's books are material gathered from his newspaper articles for the guardian - which somewhat accounts for the brief style. Not everyone wants to read through the long scientific basis for humanism. Graylings books are accessible - which is more than can be said for much philosophy. I have read some of the chapters at a humanist group to start off debate, which is another way to use these meditations.

I don't understand the put down that Grayling is merely on the Dawkins bandwagon. Grayling is a philosopher and Dawkins is a scientist. Presumably then the same applies to any Christian writer who writes a book on a similar topic to one that has already been covered? And even if he were 'jumping on the bandwagon' as many have said it is very different in style and therefore different readers will find it helpful.

There is plenty of argument and reason in this book contrary to what some have said. If it leaves you at times wishing he went further into a topic I agree - but it does cause you to reflect on what he has said and think for yourself which is what humanists aim to do.

If there is one thing that is slightly disapointing in Graylings books is that some of his essays do appear in more than one of his books - perhaps slightly expanded, and you sometimes buy one to find some of the content is stuff you have already read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Murphy on 3 Dec 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a tightly argued philosophical polemic against religion, but it is no less warm and accessible for that.

Grayling argues that we grow as a species through our human relationships. We do not need "antique superstitions" to be moral individuals, or lead fulfilling lives.

Moreover Grayling demonstrates that the atheist position - that of not having a belief in any Gods - is far warmer, more positive and altogether more enlightening than "spiritual" reliance on Middle Eastern myths.

I agree with an earlier contributor that the biggest gripe about the book is the price, given the volume of text (I read it all in one evening sitting). However, the argument is pure gold, and given what is at stake, that in itself is worth the cover price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GM Jones on 27 Mar 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not so much a book, as a long magazine article between hard covers, this is nevertheless a good, punchy primer for the putative non-believer.

I worry about those who say they read it "In a few hours" or "in an afternoon". You can finish it in just over an hour, and if you're a fast reader, even less. It really isn't very long at all.

A brief, pungent little tome, this is a useful book to keep handy, especially when arguing with Believers on the Internet. There's one thing I would take issue with, however.

Grayling states that non-believers shouldn't call themselves "Atheists" as the very term hints at "Theism" and is therefore arguing with believers on their own turf. Fair enough, but The alternative he comes up with is "Naturalists."

Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of a "naturalist" I think of David Attenborough. That gentleman's own beliefs notwithstanding, I think the term could cause more than a little confusion.

Also, having looked at the author photograph on the flyleaf, I'm of the opinion that Grayling really ought to rethink that haircut...
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