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Freedom from Religion Paperback – 18 Oct 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: XLIBRIS (18 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1483685454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1483685458
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,169,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

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This is a `must read' for atheists and a `should read' for theists. Noel McGivern starts each concise chapter from the position of the religious apologist and forensically dissects their arguments to expose the flaws. Even if you already have a good repertoire of responses to common tropes like "what about the evil atheists" or "Religion's not the problem, it's political", McGivern's approach adds another level of clarity. I particularly liked the way he argues against attempts to decouple religious identity from religious belief as so often happens in media reports about sectarian conflicts.
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.
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Thoroughly enjoyed reading Freedom from Religion. Each chapter is succinct and to the point and demonstrates how harmful religion is.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I came across Noel and 'Freedom from Religion' on Twitter. I've got an interest in religion, and on a whim, I downloaded it. I read it in one long sitting and decided to review it without reading any of the other reviews because i felt it deserved an authentic response. Lo and behold! When I came to publish I discovered I'd said almost exactly the same as the first two reviews. Yes, I believe it does top Hichens God is Not Great, certainly as a critique of the bible - it is clearer and more factual - and is easier to read than Dawkins God Delusion. I think it's a masterful work, and now it's time to copy and paste.

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.
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I have read both The God Delusion and God is not Great. I agree with the previous review that this book is not only on a par, but better as it is far easier to read.

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.
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An accessible and compelling argument for atheism and against organised religion. I'll think of this book whenever I hear Bony M on the radio now!
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