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The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism

The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism [Kindle Edition]

A.C. Grayling
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A lucid, informative and admirably accessible account of the atheist-secular-humanist position (New Statesman)

Precise and incisive . Mr Grayling is a talented apologist. His brand of humanism comes across as sensible, reasonable and characterized by generosity of spirit that is often absent from religious structures, many of which involve compiling lists of what is forbidden and dreaming up creatively horrendous punishments for those who fall short (Economist)

A calm and intelligent look at different religions and their various arguments for the existence of their gods (Daily Mail)

Grayling writes with clarity, elegance and the occasional aphoristic twist ... straight alpha material (Independent on Towards The Light)

There is an immense depth of human wisdom on display here, and five minutes with any passage will have you contemplating all day (Independent on The Good Book)

Undeniably thought-provoking (The Sunday Times)

Professor Grayling himself neatly exemplifies the values of calm rationality which are at the heart of Stoicism, and which influenced early Christian thought (Church Times)

Debunks the teleological, ontological and cosmological arguments employed throughout Christendom for the literal existence of God . Those looking for a succinct analysis of these centuries old debates will appreciate Grayling's insights (Washington Post)

Book Description

The first book to deal with all the arguments against religion and, equally important, to put forward an alternative - humanism

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 422 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (14 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009S7WB9O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,875 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Religion or Humanism? 13 July 2013
By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER
Many individuals have settled their beliefs about religion while many others, including myself, have experienced much doubt throughout life. Those with unsettled views probably have a larger tendency than others to gravitate towards philosophy, which tries to examine and assess broad questions about life and experience. In his new book, "The God Argument: the Case against Religion and for Humanism" (2013), the philosopher A.C. Grayling examines and rejects arguments in favor of religion and religious belief and opts instead for an outlook on life based on humanism. Grayling is professor of philosophy and master of the New College of the Humanities, London. Grayling has written more than 30 books, many of which involve questions about religion and humanism. He is a "public philosopher" in that he writes for lay audiences as well as for technically trained philosophers and addresses questions of immediate philosophical impact as opposed to what are sometimes termed technical questions for specialists. In addition to addressing religion and humanism, Grayling has written studies of Descartes, Berkeley, and Wittgenstein.

The goal of the book is less to change minds than to articulate the reasons which, for Grayling, lead to the rejection of religion and theism. Equally important, Grayling wants to show that the lack of theistic belief does not lead to a meaningless, ethically random life. The case Grayling makes for humanism is as important to his project as the case against religion. Accordingly, the book is in two broad parts, the first of which is titled "Against Religion" while the second is titled, "For Humanism".

Religious belief involves intellectual questions but it also raises questions of emotion, psychology, history and more.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well argued 25 Mar 2013
By Hande Z
There has been a growing concern, bordering on fear, of what religious groups have labelled "The New Atheism". The proponents upon which that label has been pinned are "Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris. A previous reviewer, full of Christian charity, hopes to discredit Grayling by casting him together with Dawkins and Hitchens, and claiming that Grayling does not introduce "enough interesting new ideas to satisfy someone who has read "The God Delusion" or "God is Not Great" (written by Dawkins and Hitchens respectively). That is neither a fair nor accurate statement - it is no different from saying that we should find that Rick Warren or any other Christian writer has nothing original to say if we have read the Bible. The allusion by that reviewer is also unfair and unkind to Dawkins and company. Although none of them had called himself a "New Atheist", nonetheless, it is no different from a Christian calling himself a "born-again Christian". Such descriptions can be used by all parties neutrally without aspersions of moral inadequacy.

In the general sense, anyone who thinks about life is a philosopher. Grayling is different only in that he makes philosophy his vocation; Dawkins is a scientist, and Hitchens was a journalist and writer. This is a deep, thoughtful book for intelligent, well-read, and open-minded people who are interested in knowing the case against religion. Grayling does more than that. In the second part of his book he presents an argument for Humanism, of which, contrary to the previous reviewer's claim, Grayling has a great deal to say.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Having read most of the other 'New Atheist' writers (such as Dawkins, Stenger, Harris, Hitchens, etc), I was concerned that this would just be another re-hashing of the same old arguments. While there is some duplication, I found that Grayling's perspective as a philosopher gave these arguments a fresh feel.
My favourite part of the book is the second half where he presents a case for living a good life without god/religion. It's wonderful to read such a positive view of the ethical life that encourages the reader to research and think for themselves!! (Rather than take his word for it!) His view of the ethical life is one we can all actually live by which makes it all the more valuable!
I like how he sets the discussion in the context of the history of philosophical thought in various areas (namely the history of ethical thought). This helps to set the humanist view within the broader context of history from antiquity to the enlightenment down to the present day.
I would strongly recommend this book as it contrasts beautifully with the likes of Dawkins who (whilst a wonderful writer) doesn't deal quite so well with the philosophical questions- in my humble opinion at least. (Both authors are great though!) :)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a page-turner but... 17 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not for the intellectually faint-hearted, this terrific book ticks every conceivable box you could imagine when it comes to de-bunking the notion of theism...of whatever hue. The chattering classes will have their dinner parties much enlivened by the controversies it unleashes and many will be the ensuing debates. I particularly like the section where Grayling knocks into a cocked hat Bertrand Russell's assertion that he could not 100% assert that fairies do NOT live at the bottom of gardens or that elfs and pixies do NOT come out at night to sprinkle dew on the flowers. Prof. Grayling's refutation of this proposition is extremely illuminating. I suppose the essence of his `message' is that one can enjoy the beauty of, say, a flower, the happiness evoked in a child's smile or the inspiration received from the `arts', without the need for a third party ie a God.

The second half of the book trumpets the Case FOR Humanism as a way of living and is equally rational in its approach. Indeed, rationality and logic infuse everything Grayling discusses...and his `general knowledge' is truly astounding.

Having said all that, I feel the book `fails' to this extent: the converted need not be `preached' to (although they will, after reading this, have many more `slings and arrows' to add to their `outrageous' arsenal!) and the `none so blind...' will simply do verbal, emotional and illogical gymnastics to justify their continued adherence to their religion in spite of NO constantly empirical data confirming the existence of a controlling `entity' whom we must worship, to whom we must give praise, to whom we may ask for `favours' and who, at the end of our life `judges' us, as a consequence of which we are `rewarded' or `punished'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expected, yet it is not that bad.
To explain why I decided to award this book 3 stars only, I have start by explaining why I decided to read it in the first place. I knew the author, A. C. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Tarek
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and intelligent.
This book is written by an academic, but it is accessible by any intelligent lay person. I particularly found the second section on ethics very interesting. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Veronica
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I wish I'd realized sooner that other people could think as I did. This and other books recently read have given me the courage to admit that I don't really believe such as the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Janet L Hickman
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not as ascerbic as Hitchens
The arguments are concise though they are far from original and the 'new atheism' is shown to be no more than the old atheism. Read more
Published 4 months ago by enchantment
He covers the issues very well, but the whole book and it's content could be much more interesting and have more impact if it were condensed to some 50 pages. Read more
Published 6 months ago by PETER EHLERS
5.0 out of 5 stars he God Argument - Grayling
As always, Grayling is beautifully clear. He destroys the arguments for the existence3 of God, or gods, as if they are for fairies or Father Christmas, and makes a good - but not... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dr. Jack Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Arguments
A brilliantly-argued treatise on the fiction of religious belief and the case for a humanist approach to ethics. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is an excellent book. Glad to have it on kindle with dictionary backup. From an objective point of view, the arguments proposed are irrefutable. Clear and concise. Read more
Published 7 months ago by alex1982
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and compassionate
Unlike Dawkins who is like the angry bore. Grayling gives you
a thinking about things which can be applied to any event which brings dismay to your state of mind.
Published 9 months ago by M
5.0 out of 5 stars Another important 21st century book
Modern-day philosophers do not come more articulate and persuasive than Anthony Grayling, and this is yet another excellent book from his pen. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Charles
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