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A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism: God is Not Dead Paperback – 27 Feb 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Paternoster Press (27 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842276174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842276174
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 815,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Peter S. Williams (MA, MPhil) is a philosopher and apologist with several books to his name and a particular expertise in working with students. In addition to working with the Damaris Trust, Peter is Assistant Professor in Communication and Worldviews at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication in Norway. He has authored A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism: God Is Not Dead (Paternoster, 2009); I Wish I Could Believe In Meaning: A Response To Nihilism (Damaris, 2004); The Case For Angels (Paternoster, 2002) and The Case For God (Monarch, 1999).


Customer Reviews

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This is a welcome book. Firstly it pitches well to reclaim the word "sceptic" to its original meaning- of doubt towards a proposition, rather than as a synonym for atheist. We know that atheists are sceptical about the claims of religion, but the religious are just as sceptical about the claims of atheism.

And Peter Williams sets out to show how and why the religious are sceptical of the claims of atheism. He does this by many arguments, across the field of the God debate. He knows the atheists' arguments well and quotes their key points and references before going on to interact with them and show up their logical or evidential flaws. For those who see Dawkins's "The God Delusion" as holy writ this will be unsettling.

This book is very carefully written trying to be fair to those authors and ideas which it critiques.

I can recommend it either to theists who want to disturb the certainties of their atheist friends, or to atheists who are beginning to reflect on their position.

Of course dyed in the wool rock heads won't even consider reading it.

If you want a good overview of the strong arguments against atheism then this book is a good place to start.
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Format: Paperback
A Sceptic's Guide To Atheism is a rock solid reply to contemporary atheism and Peter Williams thoroughly dismantles some of the strongest objections that atheists have to Christianity. I stress that this is no ordinary book reply and is almost certainly the strongest critique I've come across. He takes on in detail, people like Richard Dawkins, AC Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Carl Sagan, Lewis Wolpert and Sam Harris. As other reviewers have mentioned, one of the unique aspects of this book is the immense amount of research that Williams has put into it. There are pages and pages of footnotes per chapter and he lists an astonishing amount of recommended resources such as books, online papers, videos, audio debates and some of his own essays. It is interesting to compare the amount of research in this book to the research done in recent New Atheist books. Another unique aspect is Williams' use of quotes which are mainly from atheists! This is not a downside as it may seem to some, but it allows him to honestly and fairly engage with critics of theism and to really get into their way of thinking and of course it prevents him from misrepresenting them. Although this is largely a book that critiques atheism, the author does not neglect to build a positive case for theism and does so in various ways (even though it isn't the main intention of the book).

If you intend to read this book it does help to have some background knowledge on philosophy and science as Williams does get into some complex and deep issues throughout the book and covers a lot of ground in each chapter. It would probably beneficial also, though not necessary, to have read at least one New Atheist books or at least be partially familiar with their arguments.
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Format: Paperback
After reading many of the theistic responses to Atheist arguments I must say this has been the most thorough refutation I've read so far to date. One of the highlights for me were the amount of quotes from the Atheist authors and sound logical responses, and since I've read much of the literature I'm aware that he hasn't taken anything out of context. Something that unfortunately some responses have been guilty of doing. In much of the Atheist literature its usually strawmen versions of Theist arguments that are examined and critiqued but Williams actually deals with what Atheists are actually saying.

The pages can be quite busy sometimes but it doesnt distract from the indepth content that provides the Atheist with some serious problems. The way Williams deals with Dawkins arguments from the God Delusion is a stand out for me and I will certainly be looking forward to more of what Peter Williams has to offer in the future.
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This is, overall, an excellent book. I came to it AFTER having spent more of my life than I care to remember critiquing Dawkins (The God Delusion), Hitchens (God is Not Great), Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation) and also Bertrand Russell (especially 'Why I am not a Christian').

It is interesting how self-referencing these books actually are - and Peter Williams in his modest treatment, accurately diagnoses the mindset and logical fallacies implicit in their arguments. It is not (I do not think) written with an atheist readership in mind - and in my (limited) experience, Williams' use of connected argument is unlikely to appeal to that kind of readership - but for Christians seeking to understand the philosophical underpinnings of modern (or 'new') atheism, this is a must-read.

So, I could have saved myself a lot of time, by cutting to the chase and reading 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism'. Why don't you?
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This is, without a doubt, one of (if not the) most devastating critiques of `New Atheism' available today. Williams picks apart the often cited `reasons' for unbelief in theism and highlights their logical problems from a purely rational and logical approach.

What sets this apart from many other apologetics books is the author's research - on average over 150 footnotes per chapter. As well as that, his quotations do not simply cover Christian commentators, but in fact the majority of his references come from atheist and agnostic sources.

It must be noted that if you do not have some philosophical knowledge (I am an avid amateur) then some of the chapters can prove a struggle, but this should not deter anyone; it's worth the work.

The Sceptic's Guide to Atheism is an astonishing book that deserves to be read.
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