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on 4 January 2013
The rationale (and necessity) for the publication of this book is more than adequately encapsulated in a comment by the author himself on the first page of the preface:

"...all people are born not believing in a god or gods, and only come to believe in such entities once they have been taught the idea by others - so, atheism is the "default" position." This summary position by the author is taken from an Ernestine Rose quote he provides on page 5: "It is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they would remain so." That poignant but oft neglected and somewhat unrecognised truth says it all really.

McAfee follows that thought with the comment that "In most instances, a child is taught early on that their parent's religion is the Truth - and all others are evil. This mindset is rarely shaken and those beliefs are often passed on to further generations." "Luckily for me" concludes McAfee, "that didn't happen." Lucky indeed!

That being said, agreed and accepted - was the book any good, and will it actually be of any help to anyone?

In the Introduction, McAfee carefully and adequately describes what atheism actually is - something many `believers' do not fully understand or appreciate. He equally adequately describes the way believers generally view atheists. Understanding the way people perceive these things provides the basis for atheists at least (as strong believers are hardly likely to read this book), to understand believer mentality and attitude toward them. `Believer' indoctrination that atheists are in need of `saving' leaves little room for understanding or allowing them freedom from criticism, let alone freedom of speech without a fight. Gods `will' comes before anything within a thoroughly indoctrinated mindset.

Into the main text, and McAfee's logic, reasoning, and his ability to convey common sense through it, is impeccable, reflecting clearly arguments that are hard to refute. But then I wonder who in their right mind would want to? And that's the rub; so many deluded people with so many different belief systems - all of which are determined as the `right' one, above all others - are so brainwashed that they won't even begin to read the book or try to understand where the arguments come from.

If you could reason with a religious person, there wouldn't be any religious people.

That is obviously why McAfee decided to publish this book - people can at least try coming out as atheists using the sensible and well considered methods of persuasion and understanding that he advocates. The only comment I would make about that is that no amount of effort is likely to succeed in making someone devoutly religious change their minds (and that is not the book's objective), but they may just more readily understand the atheistic view. It's about all you can hope for - and that's no fault of McAfee's, whose work is brilliant - it's just the way delusion works.

In my experience, someone has to want to know the truth and have had their own personal epiphany that there may be something wrong with their belief system before they become willing to even listen to reason. Before that point, nothing will shake them; in fact, explanations of reality will more likely be met with hostility and rejection than acceptance and understanding, regardless of how irrational such a stance may be in the face of evidence. Creationism and a biblical world flood are classic examples; obviously scientifically unsustainable yet for the believer, no amount of evidence will break down the wall of faith in their personal absurd reality.

McAfee clearly understands this though and his writing accommodates such defence mechanisms, helping the reader structure the best way forward in what can often be unfamiliar and daunting territory. The task of coming out to family and friends may seem insurmountable - and if this book does not provide a route that successfully helps a person to succeed in that quest, it is not the fault of the book or the author - there is no more you can do when someone has a mind completely closed to reality. All you can do is gently try, try and try again. If nothing else, McAfee's work could be the best friend you will have as you try to adjust your life to reality and explain it to those you love.

McAfee gives encouragement and hope along with providing understanding of the psyche of the believer. He then provides several chapters on how to approach the problem of gaining understanding - not to be confused with trying to de-convert someone, which is virtually impossible without them first wanting to question.

This is a self-help book covering many aspects that may not immediately come to mind before reading about them but may be essential to the future health and happiness of someone coming to terms with their newfound absence of belief in gods and then trying to adequately explain themselves to others. The Q&A section is particularly helpful for anyone needing to answer similar questions from friends and family who simply cannot understand why you no longer believe. Highly recommended.

Jim Whitefield ~ Author of `The Mormon Delusion' series.
0Comment3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 January 2013
The rationale (and necessity) for the publication of this book is more than adequately encapsulated in a comment by the author himself on the first page of the preface:

"...all people are born not believing in a god or gods, and only come to believe in such entities once they have been taught the idea by others - so, atheism is the "default" position." This summary position by the author is taken from an Ernestine Rose quote he provides on page 5: "It is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they would remain so." That poignant but oft neglected and somewhat unrecognised truth says it all really.

McAfee follows that thought with the comment that "In most instances, a child is taught early on that their parent's religion is the Truth - and all others are evil. This mindset is rarely shaken and those beliefs are often passed on to further generations." "Luckily for me" concludes McAfee, "that didn't happen." Lucky indeed!

That being said, agreed and accepted - was the book any good, and will it actually be of any help to anyone?

In the Introduction, McAfee carefully and adequately describes what atheism actually is - something many `believers' do not fully understand or appreciate. He equally adequately describes the way believers generally view atheists. Understanding the way people perceive these things provides the basis for atheists at least (as strong believers are hardly likely to read this book), to understand believer mentality and attitude toward them. `Believer' indoctrination that atheists are in need of `saving' leaves little room for understanding or allowing them freedom from criticism, let alone freedom of speech without a fight. Gods `will' comes before anything within a thoroughly indoctrinated mindset.

Into the main text, and McAfee's logic, reasoning, and his ability to convey common sense through it, is impeccable, reflecting clearly arguments that are hard to refute. But then I wonder who in their right mind would want to? And that's the rub; so many deluded people with so many different belief systems - all of which are determined as the `right' one, above all others - are so brainwashed that they won't even begin to read the book or try to understand where the arguments come from.

If you could reason with a religious person, there wouldn't be any religious people.

That is obviously why McAfee decided to publish this book - people can at least try coming out as atheists using the sensible and well considered methods of persuasion and understanding that he advocates. The only comment I would make about that is that no amount of effort is likely to succeed in making someone devoutly religious change their minds (and that is not the book's objective), but they may just more readily understand the atheistic view. It's about all you can hope for - and that's no fault of McAfee's, whose work is brilliant - it's just the way delusion works.

In my experience, someone has to want to know the truth and have had their own personal epiphany that there may be something wrong with their belief system before they become willing to even listen to reason. Before that point, nothing will shake them; in fact, explanations of reality will more likely be met with hostility and rejection than acceptance and understanding, regardless of how irrational such a stance may be in the face of evidence. Creationism and a biblical world flood are classic examples; obviously scientifically unsustainable yet for the believer, no amount of evidence will break down the wall of faith in their personal absurd reality.

McAfee clearly understands this though and his writing accommodates such defence mechanisms, helping the reader structure the best way forward in what can often be unfamiliar and daunting territory. The task of coming out to family and friends may seem insurmountable - and if this book does not provide a route that successfully helps a person to succeed in that quest, it is not the fault of the book or the author - there is no more you can do when someone has a mind completely closed to reality. All you can do is gently try, try and try again. If nothing else, McAfee's work could be the best friend you will have as you try to adjust your life to reality and explain it to those you love.

McAfee gives encouragement and hope along with providing understanding of the psyche of the believer. He then provides several chapters on how to approach the problem of gaining understanding - not to be confused with trying to de-convert someone, which is virtually impossible without them first wanting to question.

This is a self-help book covering many aspects that may not immediately come to mind before reading about them but may be essential to the future health and happiness of someone coming to terms with their newfound absence of belief in gods and then trying to adequately explain themselves to others. The Q&A section is particularly helpful for anyone needing to answer similar questions from friends and family who simply cannot understand why you no longer believe. Highly recommended.

Jim Whitefield ~ Author of `The Mormon Delusion' series.
0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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