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Atheism: The Case Against God (The Skeptic's Bookshelf) by [Smith, George H.]
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Atheism: The Case Against God (The Skeptic's Bookshelf) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Review

PRAISE FOR THE WORK OF GEORGE H. SMITH:
..". welcome, hard-hitting." --"Publishers Weekly" (reviewing the first edition of "Atheism: The Case Against God")

..".prose is clear, straightforward, and relatively easy to follow--no small achievement when wading through centuries of epistemology and metaphysics."
--"Journal of Church and State" (reviewing "Why Atheism?")
"George H. Smith is an independent scholar who for many decades has lectured and written about the history of classical liberal and libertarian ideas. "The System of Liberty" is his first extended take on this history to be published by a high-level academic press--a tribute both to Smith's dogged scholarship and to the rise in the respectability of the libertarian tradition he explains and espouses....the information and analysis are always interesting."
--Brian Doherty, "Reason" magazine (reviewing "The System of Liberty")

"George Smith's lectures on classical liberalism had a profound effect on my thinking. Now, at long last, others may profit from his prodigious learning in this absolutely 'must read' book for anyone interested in modern libertarianism and its historical roots. Clear, accessible, balanced, and powerfully reasoned."
--Randy E. Barnett, author of "The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law"(reviewing""The System of Liberty")"

"This is a lucid, concise, but at the same time a deep overview of the origins and structure of classical liberal thought. With a fluid and engaging style, Smith corrects many of our modern misconceptions about how early liberals understood themselves and the terms on which they debated. Anyone interested in liberal thought, whether in its 'classical', modern 'high liberal', or libertarian forms, will find this a valuable resource. Even critics of classical liberalism will find, thanks to Smith, that classical liberal thought contains a great deal of forgotten wisdom."
--Jason Brennan, author of "Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know"(reviewing""The System of Liberty")""

PRAISE FOR THE ORIGINAL EDITION:
A hard hitting attack against belief in the Christian God as well as all other supernatural beings.... This book might well be used in a beginning course in the philosophy of religion as a fair representation of contemporary atheistic thought. Students would...find it more provocative and challenging than some other treatment that may be technically more sophisticated. The author's direct and forceful way of making his points has great appeal; clearly, it is a book written with deep intellectual passion.... All in all, Smith's book provides a lively introduction to atheism.
"Teaching Philosophy"
Welcome, hard-hitting.
"Publishers Weekly""

About the Author

George H. Smithis a freelance writer who writes a weekly article for the Cato Institute (libertarianism.org) titled Excursions into the History of Libertarian Thought. He is the author of"Atheism: The Case against God";"Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies;""Why Atheism?"; and"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism." Since 1971, he has written more than one hundred articles and book reviews that have appeared in a wide range of publications, including the"New York Times," the"Arizona Daily Star," "Newsday, Reason, Free Inquiry, "the"Humanist," and"Inquiry, "among many others. He was formerly senior research fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American history for Cato Summer Seminars, and executive editor of Knowledge Products."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1853 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 087975124X
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (12 July 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B018CH0N0O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #286,671 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This wonderful book may actually be `the best' book ever written on the subject of atheism. It's certainly one of my all time favourites.

Written by George Smith and published by the pioneering Prometheus Books, this outstanding 1989 volume covers a lot of ground and will provide the reader with a rock-solid overview of atheism and its arguments against religious belief.

The author begins by defining what `atheism' actually is and is not. This is important as there are a great many who - by choice or ignorance - like to feel that atheism equates with Satanism, Nihilism and outright anarchy.

With the necessary background established, Smith moves relentlessly through the muddled world of religious belief tackling all of the key issues; the concept of God, the God of Christianity, reason versus faith, revelation, the arguments for God and much, much more.

Although the author largely concentrates on Christianity, its book and key personalities, his arguments apply equally to any and all belief systems.

Smith states that his objective is to, "..demonstrate that the belief in God is irrational to the point of absurdity."

Herein he succeeds admirably.

Treat yourself to a copy.

Barry
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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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.
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