3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A clear-minded and considerate presentation,
This review is from: Atheism: The Case against God (Skeptic's Bookshelf) (Paperback)
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.