Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Nonbelievers, Political Junkies, Gadflies and Those Generally Hell-bound Paperback – 21 Dec 2006
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A collection of wonderful quotes by the most eloquent, witty, passionate, and celebrated nonbelievers from the ancient world to the present.
About the Author
Jack Huberman lives in New York City and is the author of the bestselling Bush Haters Handbook, its sequel, Bushit!, and 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America.
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Top customer reviews
It's worthwhile resisting the temptation to dive straight in and instead read the introduction by Jack Huberman, because the religious will defend their faith as harmless and personal to them. Here in the U.K. that may be true, at least as far as the Church of England is concerned, but before they bury their heads back in the sand it's worth reminding them of the danger and factual history of religious fundamentalism, whether based in Afghanistan or America. Huberman makes all of that perfectly clear.
The problem with books like these though (and the reason for not giving 5 stars) is that only atheists, sceptics and the braver agnostics are ever likely to read it. Most of the quotes are perfectly true but use reason to make their arguments. There's little point in quoting them to a believer because "you can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into". Ridiculing religion is all too easy but the depressing reality is that the majority of the world's population is either willfully ignorant, uneducated, indoctrinated or just plain stupid.
To quote Jack Huberman, "Do I really believe this book will convert believers...? Yes. A few. Three, I estimate. Two for sure."
Then we get to the quotes. I've no idea how many there are, but with 333 pages, most containing several, I'd guess upward of 1,000. And what an eclectic mix of figures they come from! Although Huberman is Canadian-American, his choice doesn't immediately betray that: from Clarkson to Toynbee, from Pinter to Pratchett, from Spinoza to the Simpsons, they're all here, spanning the globe and the centuries. He even lets the likes of Reagan and Falwell do their own digging. (You quickly learn from his commentary that Huberman is unapologetically liberal, but the strength of the quotes and diversity of their sources certainly doesn't depend on your sharing any one political bent.) Finally, he is sure to include those oft-misconstrued figures, Albert Einstein - cited here claiming he did not believe in a personal God - and Adolf Hitler - claiming he did.
In measuring the success of the book, an obvious question to ask is, who is it aimed at? Perhaps unsurprisingly, I'd say its largest appeal will be to non-believers looking for insight, 'ammunition' or just recognition-value humour. No doubt some believers will end up having it bought for them by 'considerate friends', and for these readers - who might otherwise balk at the thought of taking on a 400-page atheist diatribe - the dip-in-dip-out nature of this book should pique their interest, as should some of the well-known names. To the question of whether this book will convert believers, Huberman's answer is realistic: "Yes. A few. Three, I estimate. Two for sure."
There are a few downsides - Huberman's commentary that accompanies each quote is for the most part funny and apt, but occasionally grates. Also the book suffers from so many typos and repeated words that you start to wonder if it was actually proof-read at all. None of this is enough to knock off a star though.
With argument, persuasion and a dose of good old fashioned ridicule, The Quotable Atheist is probably one of the most entertaining anti-religious books you will read. If your bookshelf already contains some Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris, treat yourself to this one, as it's a worthy addition to the 'classics'. Don't be put off by the fact that it's an easier read: it's lined with some laugh-out-loud humour, but believe me, there's no shortage of real insight from genuine thinkers.
gave up at page 212 because I had underlined nearly everything.
It was reassuring to find that so many thinking people shared my
prejudices as a full time atheist.
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Been using church as a social club for years though, what am I going to do now?
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