Customer Reviews


71 Reviews
5 star:
 (47)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is a good introduction to atheism.
In my opinion, this book provides a good introduction to atheism and related philosophical issues. The hostile-sounding title might put some people off, but Smith makes it clear in the first section of his book that the primary focus of the book is whether or not theistic claims should be accepted as true. If one can show that theistic belief if flawed (the case...
Published on 8 Aug. 1999

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars http://www.infidels.org/infidels/products/books/
_Atheism: The Case Against God_ is one of the most popular books on atheism ever produced, no doubt because of its non-technical style. If you want a thorough case against theism, go with J.L. Mackie or Michael Martin instead, but if you are after a readable starting point for studying atheism, Smith's book is well worth the price.
Published on 2 July 1997


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is a good introduction to atheism., 8 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
In my opinion, this book provides a good introduction to atheism and related philosophical issues. The hostile-sounding title might put some people off, but Smith makes it clear in the first section of his book that the primary focus of the book is whether or not theistic claims should be accepted as true. If one can show that theistic belief if flawed (the case against god), then one supports atheism.
Smith then proceeds to do just that for the remainder of his book. He covers basic and important subjects such as god concepts, faith, morality, and common arguments for god. Smith argues that no rational person can accept theism as true and he discusses the philosophical problems of many theistic arguments. Smith writes in a non-technical style, and this may be why the book is popular. I think Smith's book could serve as a good starting point for approaching more thorough and technical books on atheism.
Smith spends much of the book analyzing Christianity, and I would have preferred it if he spent more time looking at theism in general. Throughout the book, he describes major flaws in Christianity, and after awhile it appears as though he's just whipping a dead horse. Of course, it's a dead horse that many people insist on riding, so I suppose that critiquing it from several perspectives may help to convince some of the riders that they're not going anywhere on that beast.
If you are a philosophical layperson who wants to learn more about atheism, then this is the book you should read.
Now, if I may digress, it appears that some of the reviews posted before mine do not really review the book at all. Instead, they provide theistic arguments that supposedly refute the arguments that Smith makes in his book. It is interesting to note that the theistic arguments offered below are actually covered in Smith's book, where he shows them to be flawed. It makes me wonder if some of those reviewers actually read or understood the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The single most persuasive case for atheism, 17 Sept. 2009
More than 30 years before Dawkins penned his own bestseller, Atheism: The Case Against God was first published and went on to become one of the biggest selling atheist books of the twentieth century. Quite right too, as this excellent critique of theism is a magnificent testament to the power of logic. It's somewhat astonishing to learn that author George H. Smith was still in his early 20s when he wrote it.

Concentrating on the philosophical arguments against God's existence, the deep intellectual passion on display here is a joy to behold. Meticulously cutting through all the theological double-talk with his fine scalpel of a mind, Smith exposes the glaring contradictions and absurdities of theism, and in so doing, makes the single most convincing case for atheism I've yet read. (From the outset, Smith explains that if a person is not a theist, then they are an atheist. Agnosticism simply refers to the (un)knowability of a god and is a separate matter that can co-exist with either position.)

His pursuit of reason (and his pursuit 'for' reason) is relentless. This is no bandwagon book of smug posturing and pithy retorts - Smith makes a real effort to present the best arguments of his opponents, often exhaustively so, before proceeding to dismantle each one with devastating precision. While I found myself questioning his train of thought on a couple of points, the book is nevertheless hugely and enjoyably successful in what it sets out to do. More philosophically in-depth than many of the recent crop of atheist titles, I really think this one deserves much wider recognition today than it currently receives.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atheism: The Case Against God, 26 Nov. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In "Atheism: The Case Against God", Smith makes a very good case against God and for atheism. He also shows that many of those who call themselves agnostics really are atheists.

He points out many inconsistencies in the Christian god and shows that it can not possibly exist, and also gives many good arguments against gods in general. He makes a good case against faith as an alternative method to reason of acquiring knowledge.

The book almost deserves five stars, but it tends to get a bit repetitive at times and some parts are a bit heavy handed. Anyway, this is definately a book that everyone interested in religion or atheism should read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear-minded and considerate presentation, 24 Oct. 2007
Smith notes in the introduction that "... this book is intended for laymen..." and indeed it seemed a great deal more readable to me than Smith's "Why Atheism?". In both books, Smith seems to have done a lot of homework.

Personally I don't care much for philosophical argumentation about God. The presentatons of God match so closely what humans are able to wish for and imagine that the issue seems more one of psychology than philosophy. As Smith writes after examining the Bible: "it is obviously the product of superstitious men, who, at times, were willing to deceive if it would further their doctrines". Let he who has eyes to see, see!

It is fun to see ideas of God and Christianity so capably unraveled, as Smith has been able to do with apparent ease.

Smith observes the extent to which Christianity has relied on threats and punishments: not something in itself that discounts a God that might be misunderstood by its followers, but something which so many have had to be mindful of. Smith notes how authoritarian religous morality tends to be. He even tackles the issue of the ethics of Jesus, pointing out astutely how the teaching of Jesus that "certain feelings and desires are sinful" is morally reprensible "because it erases the crucial distinction between intent and action."

I admittedly didn't spend much time with the chapter on cosmological arguments, but most of the book engaged me. Smith skewers such central Christian elements as the Bible, the design argument, and revelation: all simply by shining rationality on them. And he addresses well the problem with abandonning rationality (e.g. byappeals to "faith").

This is a book worth returning to. It is well-thought, well-organized, and well-written. I'd especially recommend it to any Christian who already has doubts as well as any atheist who still feels uncertain about how strongly atheism is grounded.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent challenge to Christianity., 21 Jun. 1997
By A Customer
When I read this book I wasn't sure whether the Christian God existed - but this book makes it quite clear - it is *impossible* for God to exist. Be warned - if you read this book, you will lose your faith in God. There is just no stopping the powerful arguments of George H. Smith. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a brain and can think.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rationality versus superstition: towards a better morality, 16 Mar. 2006
By 
Ukhuman1st "Mike" (Gloucester, England) - See all my reviews
The September 11 attack on the twin towers and subsequent terrorist attacks in Madrid and London were a stark reminder of the moral depravity that can arise out of the naive belief that we are pathetically subservient to some all-seeing, all-knowing deity who will reward us for acts that any rational person can see are wholly wicked, and who will punish us for disobedience. Yet those who claim to believe in a loving, forgiving, redeeming deity seem unable to see that their beliefs are no less naive and irrational. And because they have no way to really understand what their unknowable god may want from them, they each interpret his will according to their own prejudices, often leading to argument and dissension amongst them which may even turn to violence and hatred (try to find any Christian compassion or forgiveness in the ranting of the Reverend Ian Paisley talking about the Catholics in Northern Ireland!).

For thousands of years, those who dared doubt the existence of a deity were persecuted and condemned. Yet the last few hundred years has seen a big change in many enlightened countries, with the findings of science striking at the very heart of scriptural certainties. But there still remain many who prefer to cling to the comfort-blanket of belief than to grow up and think for themselves. Nowhere is this more true than in the sphere of morality, where believers turn to the absolute certainty of ancient texts rather than countenance accepting a more flexible humanist perspective based on simple principles that have ensured our outstanding success as social animals.

For many atheists, the persistence of irrational belief and the holier-than-thou attitude of those who profess a monopoly on truth is a scourge that brings little that is positive to the world. They simply cannot see any basis to surrender their rationality and accept that there is anything behind the notion of God other than wishful thinking or neuroticism.

In his powerful book, George H. Smith provides a clear and concise analysis of the claims of those who believe and shows how none of them make any kind of sense. He also looks at the moral implications of belief. He has thrown down a challenge to those who believe: let them now provide a convincing refutation of his arguments or forever hold their peace!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive demolition of the very idea of god(s)!, 20 Aug. 2010
By 
Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Smith's book dates from 1979. You might expect it to be peppered with scientific arguments that might now be out of date, but in fact he doesn't use any. Arguing that atheism is the default and remaining position if theism does not hold up, Smith spends the whole of his 300 pages hacking away at theism from a purely philosophical perspective.

This is a rigorous, trenchant attack on the evasions and smoke-clouds of theology. Although he focuses on christianity for cultural reasons, Smith's arguments are as readily applicable to any theistic religion. The philosophical approach sounds dry and dusty, but in fact the author's irritated slam-dunks make for a very entertaining read: sometimes you can almost hear his eyes roll:

"Anything asked in the name of Jesus will be granted, including the miraculous transportation of a mountain. It would take very few examples of mountain moving to convert the atheists of the world, but the modern Christian is reluctant to defend these grandiose claims of faith, much less attempt an actual demonstration."

A particular pleasure was Smith's brisk and effortless demolition of the Argument from Design and the Argument from Life - in each case not even mentioning evolution!

The book does get a little boggy towards the end, when he outlines a meta-ethics based on Ayn Rand's work. But the fun returns for some welcome pops at the rarely-criticised precepts of Jeebus at the end. Those theists who (spuriously) dismiss the likes of Dawkins as insufficiently versed in theology might find Smith's book an uncomfortable riposte.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great account of Atheism., 28 Sept. 2005
If your not sure about the whole 'god' thing then this book should clear things up for you. However, if like me, you're already an Atheist then there is really nothing new here. Smith does a fantastic job of covering all aspects of religion and life and offers the logical Atheistic view point and explanation, but if you are already of a similar opinion you may be wasting your time. I am in no way knocking the book, as I think it is a great account of the Atheistic perception of the world, one which I share completely. If you are in the middle ground and are curious about the Atheist perspective then this book will be enlightening and I recommend it entirely. I find it useful when I am in discussion with those of the creationist viewpoint. It really is difficult to argue against Smiths thorough account of his views. I think this book should be dropped from the sky above Iraq and other hot spots of religious fundamentalism. It should at least be part of the school curriculum in the west.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive, complete atheist apologetics, 8 Aug. 1998
By A Customer
This book is a complete review of agnostic and christian thought about God, as well as its numerous fallacies. No doubt one of the best books on the topic, especially about faith.
This book is noticeable in that it contentrates also on faith, and how you can show that faith is not a valid epistemiological device. It also dispels the "christians are moral" myth.
Recommended to theists, agnostics and atheists alike, as the ultimate word on the subject.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough dismantling of theism, 16 July 2003
After reading the reviews on the US website I was expecting a few holes in Smiths philosophical argumentation, but having read the book I can't see how anyone could seriously dismiss the significance of this work. Smith looks at the theism from every possible angle and demolishes it to the point of absurdity.
All too often atheists defend their disbeliefs by positing that 'the weight of evidence is in their favour' instead of trying to argue the case for atheism with reason. Smiths book provides the intellectual tools necessary for a thorough dismantling of theism, and therefore should appeal to atheists who are looking for new ways to prove their point.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews