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Baptized Atheist [Kindle Edition]

David Smalley , Frank Zindler , David Eller

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  • Length: 256 pages
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Book Description

You've always believed because it was the right thing to do, but you have questions that your religious leaders and prayers have not yet answered. You've always had thoughts in the back of your mind that you would never actually say because it's taboo to question your religion. I understand because I've been there. This book is for you. I asked the questions you were never supposed to. What I found changed my life forever.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 399 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: American Atheist Press (9 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IC9OPWU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #720,112 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Is Yet To Come... 2 Sept. 2014
By Book Shark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Baptized Atheist by David Smalley

"Baptized Atheist" is the entertaining personal quest for the truth. Popular host and moderator of the Dogma Debate Podcast and strong advocate of Secular Humanism, David Smalley takes the reader on an entertaining and philosophical journey inspired ironically by a pastor during the ritual of baptism. This provocative 256-page book includes the following seven chapters: 1. Skepticism, 2. Passing Judgment, 3. Instinctive Sins, 4. Investigating Atheism, 5. Our Society, 6. My Conversion?, and 7. Life after the Journey.

Positives:
1. Entertaining, provocative and accessible book.
2. The fascinating topic of quest for truth. It's a personal deconversion story from Christianity to Atheism.
3. Smalley in many respects represents the average deep-thinking man on a quest for truth. The appeal of Smalley is his genuine desire to find the truth no matter where it leads him. He is very respectful of believers and seeks to engage and debate them in a civil manner. His personality shines through this book.
4. Entertaining personal quest inspired by a pastor during the ritual of baptism. "You know, son, you can't just say you believe; you have to know it to be true in your heart." Those pastor's words were the impetus behind his quest and this book.
5. Smalley has a good grasp of the Bible and makes good use of it to make sound and logical arguments. He examines it and is unable to defend the logic of the Bible and the quest picks up speed. "The entire basis of Christianity begins under the assumption that the Bible is the `Word of God.' Regardless of the many contradictions I listed above, I was positive that if I could prove that the Bible was in fact `God's Word,' then we could all investigate the meanings of those scriptures at a later time. After all, if the Bible could never be proven to be of holy inspiration, then chasing those rabbits down a hole would be pointless and foolish. So, I set out to discover how a god could write a book for us."
6. Provides a brief list of popular religious labels.
7. Provocative statements abound in this brief book. "That fear of being wrong is what should motivate research and understanding, not prevent it. "
8. An interesting look at free will. "I did wonder why a perfect god would create a being bound to fail, and how it could be considered `free' if we are going to be punished for making the wrong decisions."
9. My favorite point of this whole book is as follows, "For there to be absolute morality, we would first need to have an absolute source from which that morality derived. Without that source being proven as absolute, we cannot say that any rule is for certain." This is the joy of reading exemplified.
10. Should we get our ethics from "sacred" books? "Don't get your ethics from a book, regardless of how holy you think it is. Books are written by humans, including this one, and are subject to error and human fallibility. Obtain your ethics and self-respect from your personal experiences and base them on accepted sociological norms, how you want to live, and how you want to be treated, and most importantly, make decisions based on what causes the least amount of harm. There is no black and white, wrong or right. Just be you and treat every human you meet with the utmost respect.
11. A fascinating look at sins. "The request for repentance in itself is even ridiculous, as you are apologizing for being created as a sinner, which you had no say in. Where's the free will in that?"
12. Addressees some hot-button issues. "You simply can't force yourself to be attracted. We have to look at this physiologically. If it is impossible for you to choose the same sex against your nature, don't you think it's impossible for homosexuals to choose the opposite? There's just a fundamental difference in your brains; that's as far as it goes. Gay people have no more chosen to be gay than women have chosen to be female. One day, our government will see that, too. As for the votes in state legislature to ban gay marriage, I will say this: it's simply not fair to let the majority vote on how the minority is treated."
13. Dedicates a chapter on how he investigated atheism. "Atheists we do trust evidence and science. It is impossible to say Atheists have no conviction at all, but it's more accurate to say that Atheists have confidence in their process of forming knowledge, because it's been rewarded in the past, multiple times over, and in a controlled environment." Also mentions with admiration his mentor Frank Zindler and gives a lot of credit to Dr. David Eller.
14. Condenses the problem of evil down to five parts.
15. Provides some interesting insights during debates and written exchanges.
16. A short section on notable quotes and thoughts by Smalley.

Negatives:
1. Low production value. The book suffers from poor eBook formatting. In general, it's a little rough around the edges.
2. The books overall flow could be better.
3. Many interesting themes are brought up but are given a light treatment.
4. Lacks scientific rigor and depth.
5. Lacks supplementary material. No tables, charts or illustrations.
6. Do we really have free will? What is the scientific consensus and can such a conclusion be effectively conveyed to the public?

In summary, this is a provocative and entertaining book that lacks production value. I really believe that the best is yet to come for David Smalley. His podcast is really taking off and his arguments are becoming stronger and smoother. I look forward to more books from Mr. Smalley. I can envision a book that resembles his popular podcast including contributions from his cohosts, a more comprehensive evolution segment and the like. Rough around the edges but provocative and worth your while, I recommend it.

Further recommendations: "Natural Atheism" and "Atheism Advanced" by David Eller, "Nailed" by David Fitzgerald, "Why I'm Not a Christian" by Richard Carrier, "Nonbeliever Nation" by David Niose, "Atheism for Dummies" by Dale McGowan, "The End of Christianity" by John Loftus, "The Atheist Universe" by David Mills, "The God Argument" by A.C. Grayling, "50 popular beliefs that people think are true" by Guy P. Harrison, "Godless" by Dan Barker, "God is not Great" by Christopher Hitchens, "Freethinkers" by Susan Jacoby, and "Society Without God" by Phil Zuckerman.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Worth Taking! 12 Jun. 2012
By Donovan Baker - Published on Amazon.com
I just finished this on audio and it was an absolute adventure! The entire book is a wonderful journey as you get to see what it is like for someone to go on quest to find out if just believing in something is enough. If you have ever questioned your faith and wanted to know what it would be like if you researched it for yourself, this is the book for you. This person devotes so much time to finding out what is right and wrong in his beliefs that it's a real treat to sit back and watch it all unfold. You may learn enough from this book to either inspire you to research your beliefs on your own or come to realize that Mr. Smalley has already done it for you. The "Coin in the Field" analogy of religion was so spot on, I don't think anything has ever struck me as well as that did. This book really hits home.
3.0 out of 5 stars Imagine no heaven 26 July 2015
By Felicia Jordan - Published on Amazon.com
3.5 stars

"If the entire world felt like there was no heaven and promised themselves to create a heaven on earth, and promised themselves to become a guardian angel now, the world would be a much better place."

I picked up this book after I became a fan of David Smalley's Dogma Debate podcast. It's brief, skims over some issues that could have been discussed in more depth and at times lacks organization. However, it's still a worthwhile read, especially for someone just beginning to question religion, or someone raised in a Biblical-literalist brand of Christianity.

Smalley shares his discoveries of unsettling truths about the Bible, religious holidays and creationist beliefs - facts which are never brought up in Sunday School.

He's at his best when he talks about the harm religion does to people and how it impedes rational thinking. After leaving Christianity, he started debating in churches and on religious radio programs. His recollections of these experiences were the best parts of the book.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written book! 25 Jun. 2013
By Alwaysatheist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are many books discussing the reasons to be an atheist, but there are not many books out there that let you see the pathway taken by the author as they transitioned step by step into atheism. The movement into atheism is about more than just the "whys" of going to atheism. Its about the "hows", everyone experiences their own path.

Thanks for sharing your story. Its inspirational.

P.S. Love the Dogma Debate podcast!
5.0 out of 5 stars Very refreshing book!!! 31 Dec. 2014
By luz marina kilama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just what I was looking for, very informative and easy to read.Very impressed on how his opinions and experiences were closed to mine.
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