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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2015
The God Delusion is one of my all-time favourite books and I agree with other reviewers that this book makes an excellent companion.

When I was practising as a full-time hypnotherapist I saw first-hand how entrenched false / irrational beliefs can cause long-term misery. This book takes a similar view by approaching people 'infected with the faith virus' as needing an intervention - not debate or criticism or facts - none of which have historically been shown to have the required impact, but a calm, structured 'interventional deconstruction' of how the beliefs were arrived at in the first place.

This approach is spot-on in my opinion. Most religious people operate from 'confirmation bias' - start with a conclusion and then work backwards to justify it - something one hears over and over again from the street preachers, pulpit and teachers of the 'faith virus'.

Time to kick the legs out from under the beliefs table-top!

The strategy is that used to de-program so-called 'cult members' (Scientologists, Moonies, etc) - a category the author feels mainstream religions are comparable with.

Not a quick read as there is much to learn, ponder and practice, however you will gain a 'de-programming' skill that can be applied to many everyday situations, so well worth the time.

Highly recommended.
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on 4 August 2015
By far the best explanation of what is wrong with faith. Cuts through the bulls*** and cuts straight to the chase. Epistemology. Is it true? how can you know? Not read anything by him before but introduced me to the idea of motivational interviewing as a method of avoiding pointless arguments with people who don't know how to reason. may not convert those who have faith but it will expose their faith as pretending to know something they don't. Cheap and to the point: probably the best book I brought this year ('Better Angels of our Nature' was the best last year).
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on 8 January 2014
A Manual for Creating Atheists is a fresh gale of reason helping to blow away irrationality such as pseudoscience and superstition. I'm an avid reader of books on atheism, scepticism and reason, and it's been a while since I've been this impressed with the clarity of thought and the wealth of new ideas.
I was particularly impressed with chapter 8, Faith and the Academy, which is about epistemological relativism not only among the academic left but elsewhere in society as well. The book gives you a better understanding about how we know about reality. I completely agree with Peter Boghossian that faith is not a virtue and that the walls of respect built around religions don't need to be respected. Ideas can be attacked even though you treat people with respect.
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on 12 January 2014
I left my family religion in my teens and, even after I left both the religion and the city, I still had heated arguments with family and church members when I visited my family on holidays.

I wish I'd read this book, because it shows you how to persuade without arguing, using pointed questioning to drill down to the foundational beliefs that the religious take on faith, and how not to accept the slippery "because I have faith" answer. If your goal is to persuade, then Boghossian's approach is far more effective than arguing with the religious on the metaphysics of deities or specific points of politics, morality and science.
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on 6 February 2014
The arguments for atheism, naturalism and secular humanism are around for quite a long time. So why is faith so resistant against them and what can be done to address this problem?

You get some answers to this question when reading Peter Boghossians book.
Basically he advocates a Socratic strategy of making people doubt by simply asking questions pointing to possible inconsistencies of their views. That's not novel but always deserves a reminder. More important is the authors insisting claim that we shouldn't accept an intellectual and social preserve for religious faith, treating it as a no-touch private preference or matter of taste. Boghossian's attack on constructivism and epistemological and moral (multicultural) relativism as an academic and social aberration is justified and deserves support. So far the motivating aspects of the book.

But unfortunately there are severe flaws. The author has no empathy for religious people. You can't understand the comforting effects of faith by simply stating that there is no evidence for it. For example many people want to believe that there beloved ones still exist somehow and somewhere after having passed away. Wrong - but we should be able to feel some empathy for the emotionally comforting effect of such wishful thinking. Lack of that pushes Boghossian to demand that we should try to talk everybody out of his or her faith, people personally unknown to us, everybody, everywhere, in principle regardless of the personal situation (desperate life conditions, terminal illness, high age, psychological stability or instability?). And here things begin to turn unpleasant and even potentially dangerous.

When finally classifying religious faith as a mental disease which should be addressed by public health programs Boghossian risks to shift to sectarianism and make his whole principally laudable enterprise look ridiculous. Religions are out-dated ways of interpreting the world and finding orientation in life but they are no diseases (with violent fanaticism as a borderline case between crime and mental disorder). If not so a considerable part of arts and human civilization would just be the product of insane people. Sounds a bit ahistorical, doesn't it?
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on 23 January 2014
Despite the (pragmatic) title, this book is really "A manual for creating rational thinkers". The atheism part is just a natural conclusion that must come to anyone as a result of thinking critically and rationally. The opposite of proselytising, it helps and espouses 'HOW to think (clearly)', rather than the religiously favoured of 'WHAT to think'.

Furthermore, Peter Boghossian's method of "challenging the faith virus" is the first I've come across that bridges the gap from just knowing that it's not moral to stay silent, to crucially, having the tools and confidence to be able to actually try and help those afflicted by faith. And to do it in a proactive, sincere and non-confrontational way. Activism is what's needed to rid the world of faith and its harmful effects, and this book is ESSENTIAL for that.

I'm finding the real examples of "interventions' particularly helpful, and looking forward to the TV programme "Reason Whisperer' which will apparently show more of these real life interventions.
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on 16 November 2013
I'm a confirmed atheist already. I rejected religion as a child, getting into trouble for missing RE lessons and singing childishly amusing versions of hymns at school. I took no notice of it at all through my 20s and 30s and then whilst working far from home and staying in hotels, I actually sat and thought through all of the tenets and tales of christianity. I even read the bible from cover to cover. I came out of this exercise completely against all forms of sky fairy worship; I can't keep quiet if anyone says anything even vaguely religious but I do try to make people laugh whilst inserting little bits of reason into their brains.
I am one of the people who Peter Boghossian is trying to reach with this book; I have a burning need to cure people of the mental illness that is religion, and this book has given me new weaponry to assist my mission.
Faith = Pretending to know something that you don't know.
Excellent book.
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on 17 February 2014
Excellent read, - Bogossian is straight to the fundamental point, - Faith, what it is, defined in laymans terms, and just how simple it is to expose it for what it is.......

Buy this book - read it!!
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on 1 April 2014
This was one of the best and most enlightening books I have ever read. His critique of cognitive academic leftism is fantastic. Highly recommend
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on 5 October 2014
Well constructed with some interesting arguments. Clearly American - coming from England I can assure him that noone strikes up conversations with strangers about anything but the weather. Mr B wants us to engage fellow shoppers in Socratic dialogues about the meaning of faith. I can't see this happening in my local branch of Morrisons - Waitrose, possibly.
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