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I Don't Believe in Atheists Hardcover – 11 Sep 2008

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (11 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184706289X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847062895
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.2 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,022,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'A provocative and topical discussion, adding wise words to a contemporary debate.' --Network magazine

About the Author

Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent reporting from more than fifty countries. Part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper's coverage of global terrorism, he has taught at Princeton and Columbia Universities and is the best-selling author of American Fascists, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America.
'

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In I Don't Believe in Atheists, Chris Hedges claims that the New Atheists are mistaken in thinking that human nature is perfectible and that a utopian future is possible in which rationality and science can replace religious thought. He says that we should acknowledge that human nature is intrinsically flawed and can never be perfected. He claims that the New Atheists are blaming religion for the problems in the world and that this can lead to a belief that to rid the world of its problems and achieve the utopian future we must rid the world of religion. This way of thinking, he says, has dangerous precedents.

Hedges believes that there is place for religious thought in helping us understand the non-rational aspects of existence; that not everything can be explained by science; that the meaning of human existence is ambiguous and ultimately unknowable.

I'm an atheist and I agree with him. Unfortunately, to make this important point, I think he's attributed opinions to people - Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, Hitchens - that they don't necessarily have. There are parts of the book that appear to be non-sequitur arguments. However, I still think this book is well worth reading. It's the third book of his that I've read; the other two are Empire of Illusion and American Fascists, which I think are both worth five stars.
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Format: Hardcover
Fantastic book. Hits the nail in the head just with the title.
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Format: Hardcover
There is much to challenge with the ' new atheists' but Hedges book is a poor attempt, for the following reasons:
Continual straw men: the atheists he is attacking never claim that man is perfectible or that progress is inevitable.
The tired old idea that enlightenment and rationality led inevitably to Hitler and Stalin. Which of Hitler's beliefs are rational?
Very selective and dishonest quotation from Harris and others, giving the impression they advocate actions that they clearly do not if you read their books.
Hedges' main hate seems to be not atheists but the 'corporate global capitalism' bogeyman. He tries to fit this idea with vehement atheism and it is very clumsy.
Disappointing.
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Format: Hardcover
You can think the New Atheists are annoyingly fundamentalist or that humanity is on an unstoppable downward spiral, but it does not mean atheism is wrong. You might as well say you don't believe in round earthers because they sound too confident that they're right. Well, they are right. It seems to me that Hedges just can't quite get the religiousness of his upbringing out of his system, clinging on to it as it would be too painful to deny his past completely, and this results in a mean-spirited, unconvincing piece of self-justification.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars flawed but thought provoking 22 Aug. 2011
By MV - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I had quite a mixed reaction to this book. I'm glad I read it, and I think it had some very thought provoking passages. I also think it was incredibly poorly written, repetitive and, at times, even incoherent. Mostly, I just overlooked those parts and focused on parsing out the pieces that added something to my understanding of human being.

One of the most useful pieces of the book, for me, despite how they sometimes contributed to the incoherence, were his ample use of quotes from Willa cather, Joseph Conrad, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, etc. The quotes often stopped me to consider what these wonderful writers had to say.

Hedges complaint is that any fundamentalism (and he focuses on Atheists in comparison to Christians) assumes that human nature is progressing and getting better. Such an assumption leads to horrific outcomes. I think this conclusion is accurate, but I'm sometimes confused with how science underlies the belief that human nature is progressing. . . He quotes Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens as the most guilty of this athesistic fundamentalism, but his proof is not very solid.

I think the book is worth reading because of the importance of recognizing that human beings are necessarily and inevitably flawed. That we are not destined for greatness as a species. I also think it's useful in highlighting the importance of wisdom over knowledge. It is one thing to know a lot, it is another to understand. And, finally, I think the book was useful in pointing out that the "mystery" that is part of being human cannot be explained by science. This does not "prove" there is or isn't a God, it simply means, to me, that part of being human is being incapable of understanding all, regardless of the intervention of science or religion.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like the book and intend to read again 1 Sept. 2016
By Mara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I like the book and intend to read again. It's provocative but so do we, Christians! Without Jesus we are nothing! The future of those that reject the Son of the living God is horrendous. I have faith in God and poor me if wasn't for God's grace! I don't believe in Atheist either. They are just lazy. They recuse to read the Bible humbly and ask the Holy Spirit to open their minds! They are arrogant and suicidal! God loves them and the door to heaven is still open and Jesus is still inviting!
50 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Believe in Atheists 19 Sept. 2010
By Winston Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In I Don't Believe in Atheists, Chris Hedges claims that the New Atheists are mistaken in thinking that human nature is perfectible and that a utopian future is possible in which rationality and science can replace religious thought. He says that we should acknowledge that human nature is intrinsically flawed and can never be perfected. He claims that the New Atheists are blaming religion for the problems in the world and that this can lead to a belief that to rid the world of its problems, and achieve a utopian future, we must rid the world of religion. This way of thinking, he says, has dangerous precedents.

Hedges believes that there is place for religious thought in helping us understand the non-rational aspects of existence; that not everything can be explained by science; that the meaning of human existence is ambiguous and ultimately unknowable.

I'm an atheist and I agree with him. Unfortunately, to make this important point, I think he's attributed opinions to people - Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, Hitchens - that they don't necessarily have. There are parts of the book that appear to be non-sequitur arguments. However, I still think this book is well worth reading. It's the third book of his that I've read; the other two are Empire of Illusion and American Fascists, which I think are both worth five stars.
13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straw man argument ahead 11 Jan. 2012
By Zaine Ridling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've been an atheist most of my life and it always humors me when god-believers don't give atheists their due. "Only god-believers are allowed to judge atheists!" Christ Hedges is brilliant in so many ways, but not here. He argues against his own (straw man) view of atheists, and then attributes his view of atheism to recent popular atheists around the web writing books. But it doesn't stick because it really is the religion that lures people to do horrific things they never otherwise would consider (terrorism, forced genital mutilation, slavery, honor killings, murdering doctors, raping boys in churches for centuries, etc.). Last time I checked I didn't see the news headline where atheists were paying out billions of dollars for the cover-up and settlement of child rape cases going back to the 1970s. Check out Hedges' book, The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress for a much better use of his talents.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ignorance is Bliss. 22 Feb. 2016
By Mithra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have read numerous works on atheism, not a few of which reflect the religious bias of their authors. This work I would categorise as an example of confusion and special pleading by a writer who knows little about the history of atheism. For centuries atheists, or whatever they have described themselves, have been subject of vicious pograms initiated, or supported, by religious fanatics, while even supposed "political liberals" appear to have fallen for their propaganda. I had hitherto thought better of Chrisr Hedges. How wrong I was.
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