Freedom from Religion Paperback – 18 Oct 2013
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About the Author
Noel McGivern was born in Belfast, in 1962, and left at the age of nineteen for a degree in Politics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. A major reason for leaving Belfast was his desire to be free from the religious identities imposed by that divided society. He spent many years seeking the truth at the heart of religion and spirituality, eventually reaching the conclusion that such beliefs are often barriers to human and political progress. He embarked on a study of how religion affects individuals and society. This book, sometimes funny, and at others deeply serious, is the outcome of that.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is structured in short self-contained chapters which render it useful for quickly locating an argument for a particular apologetic, so especially for those new to debating the odds about religion it would be an invaluable resource and reference work.
Freedom from Religion also tackles, albeit superficially, philosophical and theological concepts of ontology epistemology and the problem of evil sufficiently well to give a springboard for further study to those so inclined and the book is liberally supplied with citations to sources of greater depth. The same is also true of the treatment of creationism vs. evolution which generated my only minor quibble in that there were a couple of generalisations about evolutionary theory that raised my eyebrows somewhat. But this is not intended as a science primer and the book more than succeeds in its primary function of highlighting why freedom of religion should also entail freedom from religion. Put it on your bookshelf next to Dawkins and Harris.
Easier to digest than 'The God Delusion' and more concise than 'God is not Great', Noel McGovern's book deserves to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dawkins and Hitchens' work.
The chapter (7) on the author's personal experience with Catholicism gives a poignancy and authenticity to his views throughout the text.
Using quotes from religious texts to evidence how contradictory, hypocritical and unpleasant they are will make uncomfortable reading for even the most devout theists.
The only minor criticism is that one or two of the chapters are a little too short, but that's only nit-picking. A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking read.
Freedom from Religion is a clear and comprehensive dissection of mainly, Abrahamic theology; religious myth and hyperbole.
Descriptive words that come to mind are `factual,' `comprehensive', `detailed' `painstaking,' `concise,' enlightening,' and `informative'.
Noel McGivern's technique is to look at key aspects of religion, research and analyse, and then apply the results of that research in a clear logical fashion. His process is fact-based. He presents facts without malice. That's not to say that this is a cold, hard read. On the contrary, there are elements of the personal journey that infuse the narrative and make reading it a pleasure.
I particularly liked certain chapters. Chapter 14 discusses an interesting concept, one, which I've come across before - that there are two gods in the Old Testament - Yahweh and EL or Elohim. I first came across this strand when reading David V. Barrett's `the New Believers' which is an encyclopaedic exploration of worldwide religious groups and invaluable as a reference point - if you're interested in the subject. Barrett ruminated on the Messiah/H'al Mahshivach organisation (found on the web as Messiah.Read more ›
I particularly like the clinical way the author takes each point and dissects them piece by piece. The usual outcome is that the patient (religion) is terminally ill.
I would dare any theist to read this book and still have complete faith in their delusion.