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Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness (Oberon Masters Series) Kindle Edition
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I won't compare it directly to "The God Delusion" (Dawkins) because it is a totally different kind of book (philosophical rather than scientific) but where Dawkins takes rather a long time to explain his (sometimes quite obscure) points, Grayling sums up what it means to live in a world without god(s) in succinct, satisfying chapters.
If you do believe in god (and I totally respect your right to do so...) then I still challenge you to read Grayling's book, and reflect on its sentiments. Many of us atheists have done the same with books such as "The Dawkins Delusion" (McGrath).
Much of Grayling's books are material gathered from his newspaper articles for the guardian - which somewhat accounts for the brief style. Not everyone wants to read through the long scientific basis for humanism. Graylings books are accessible - which is more than can be said for much philosophy. I have read some of the chapters at a humanist group to start off debate, which is another way to use these meditations.
I don't understand the put down that Grayling is merely on the Dawkins bandwagon. Grayling is a philosopher and Dawkins is a scientist. Presumably then the same applies to any Christian writer who writes a book on a similar topic to one that has already been covered? And even if he were 'jumping on the bandwagon' as many have said it is very different in style and therefore different readers will find it helpful.
There is plenty of argument and reason in this book contrary to what some have said. If it leaves you at times wishing he went further into a topic I agree - but it does cause you to reflect on what he has said and think for yourself which is what humanists aim to do.
If there is one thing that is slightly disapointing in Graylings books is that some of his essays do appear in more than one of his books - perhaps slightly expanded, and you sometimes buy one to find some of the content is stuff you have already read.
I worry about those who say they read it "In a few hours" or "in an afternoon". You can finish it in just over an hour, and if you're a fast reader, even less. It really isn't very long at all.
A brief, pungent little tome, this is a useful book to keep handy, especially when arguing with Believers on the Internet. There's one thing I would take issue with, however.
Grayling states that non-believers shouldn't call themselves "Atheists" as the very term hints at "Theism" and is therefore arguing with believers on their own turf. Fair enough, but The alternative he comes up with is "Naturalists."
Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of a "naturalist" I think of David Attenborough. That gentleman's own beliefs notwithstanding, I think the term could cause more than a little confusion.
Also, having looked at the author photograph on the flyleaf, I'm of the opinion that Grayling really ought to rethink that haircut...
This book would be ideal for someone with Secular Humanist leanings who don't just want to define what they don't believe (ie, God), but rather what they actually do believe (ie, human values based within the context of this one precious life).
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"Against All Gods" is a superb look at religion in general.Read more