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on 28 September 2005
If your not sure about the whole 'god' thing then this book should clear things up for you. However, if like me, you're already an Atheist then there is really nothing new here. Smith does a fantastic job of covering all aspects of religion and life and offers the logical Atheistic view point and explanation, but if you are already of a similar opinion you may be wasting your time. I am in no way knocking the book, as I think it is a great account of the Atheistic perception of the world, one which I share completely. If you are in the middle ground and are curious about the Atheist perspective then this book will be enlightening and I recommend it entirely. I find it useful when I am in discussion with those of the creationist viewpoint. It really is difficult to argue against Smiths thorough account of his views. I think this book should be dropped from the sky above Iraq and other hot spots of religious fundamentalism. It should at least be part of the school curriculum in the west.
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on 8 August 1998
This book is a complete review of agnostic and christian thought about God, as well as its numerous fallacies. No doubt one of the best books on the topic, especially about faith.
This book is noticeable in that it contentrates also on faith, and how you can show that faith is not a valid epistemiological device. It also dispels the "christians are moral" myth.
Recommended to theists, agnostics and atheists alike, as the ultimate word on the subject.
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on 16 July 2003
After reading the reviews on the US website I was expecting a few holes in Smiths philosophical argumentation, but having read the book I can't see how anyone could seriously dismiss the significance of this work. Smith looks at the theism from every possible angle and demolishes it to the point of absurdity.
All too often atheists defend their disbeliefs by positing that 'the weight of evidence is in their favour' instead of trying to argue the case for atheism with reason. Smiths book provides the intellectual tools necessary for a thorough dismantling of theism, and therefore should appeal to atheists who are looking for new ways to prove their point.
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on 21 August 2002
This book changed my life. Sorry to sound so dramatic, but it's true. Before reading this book, I was an agnostic who wanted to believe in a god, but had lost faith in organized religion (after having been very religious for a number of years). After reading this book, I was transformed into an atheist.
It doesn't take long to realize the rationality of Smith's arguments and beliefs. He argues flawlessly and shows just how irrational and illogical theism (belief in a god or gods) is. Being a phiolosopher, he argues primarily from an ethical, individualistic perspective, and points out the massive detrimental effects of theism on the individual, but also mentions the sociological and historical aspects of the case against theism, which affect humanity as a whole.
He comprehensively discredits virtually every argument put forward by theists that they posit as 'evidence' for the existence of god, and reveals the level of presupposition and/or contradiction that always exists in this 'evidence'.
He finishes his book by discussing morals and ethics as 'the science of human values'. He compares and contrasts rational morality (based on consent and reason) with religious morality (based on orders and threats), and shows just how negative the impact of religious morality is on the individual and on society. One is left with the feeling that atheism is really the only reasonable foundation for a just, compassionate world; and one does not need to believe in a supernatural being to lead a happy, meaningful life.
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on 7 May 2002
Although I've always considered myself as an atheist, I can't say I've actually read that much on the subject, just opinions I've formed myself. To this day it completely baffles me that so many people in this world believe in a god. Anyway, this book is absolutely fascinating. Although originally written in the 70's, a lot of what's said obviously hasn't dated. Not only did this book make my atheist beliefs stronger, but it gives me more depth to my reasons behind my beliefs. The book deals with just about every argument there is for a god, from the basic concept of a "god", and the many contradictions of an alleged god's "characteristics", to deeper themes of faith, the cosmological arguments, and morality. Whatever the argument is that the theist will throw at you, this book refutes every single one of them, which is one of the reasons why this book is so handy for the atheist. If you are an atheist then you no doubt already have your own thoughts/reasons for being so, but this book will give you a stronger foundation to work from when standing your ground against a theist/christian. The book gets a little heavy going the further you get into it (and bogs down a little during the chapters on faith), but they are all important arguments you should be aware of, and the author always goes out of his way to simplify things by giving analogical examples. During some chapters I was even making notes of interesting points I could use!. Overall, a fascinating read that all atheists' should be "armed" with. And as most should know, although most arguments with theists ultimately prove to be futile, you'll have a lot more interesting (and valid) points to throw at him/her after reading this book.
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on 12 April 1999
Unlike some of the reviewers who give Smith's work only one star, I am a convinced atheist. I also hold a Ph.D. in philosophy and readng philosophical literature on religion is a major interest of mine. While I am convincerd that the weight of the evidence is against God's existence, I find most of Smith's arguments dogmatic and subject to decisive objections. There are many excellent defenses of atheism out there--Doug Krueger's _What is Atheism? An Introduction_ and J.L. Mackie's _The Miracle of Theism_ are examples. If you are interested in the subject, look to one of them, not to Smith.--Greg Klebanoff
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on 30 October 2014
One of the best books on Atheism out there and it does not get the attention it deserves.
Moreover, Smith is a Libertarian which is fantastic since they get forgotten amongst
the hordes of atheists who are modern liberals or socialists.
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on 6 August 1999
It seems many reviewers haven't done their homework. At best I see one or two quotes from Smith's book which are generally secondary arguments and are chronically made out of context.
To defend the standpoint of the atheist, Smith need not answer the question "Is the universe eternal" or any of these other off-topic questions raised in earlier reviews. Please consult your local cosmologist for opinions on that subject matter.
Smith's argument is plain and simple. Forget everything you've learned on the subject of theism (to remove bias and address the issue objectively). Now let the theist propose his theory of God. Evaluate each line of argument posited by the theist. Smith identifies the logical flaws, inconsistencies, and unclear definitions in the theist's arguments. His conclusion is that if the theist can't convince you, using logic and evidence, of the existence of a God, then if you accept the existence of God, you are doing so irrationally. Atheism then stands as the rational alternative, equivalent to saying to the theist "You have not convinced me that 'God' exists." ATHEISM IS NOT A PROOF THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST. INSTEAD IT IS THE ASSERTION THAT THEISM DOES NOT PROVIDE AN ADEQUATE PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
Many of the reviewers of this book have missed this very critical and highly essential pillar of the book, and have instead chosen to attack less important issues or formulate overly-simplistic proofs of why God HAS to exist. Had they actually read the book, they would have found that many of these arguments are addressed.
This book will do you no good if you thumb through it and pick out a line or two from a page in the middle and then scoff at it. Like I said earlier, you have to eliminate all your bias on the subject and allow the theist a chance to persuade you to his beliefs. If he doesn't succeed at proving the existence of God, then welcome to atheism. Let Smith's book guide you through the theist's arguments and help you avoid the logical pitfalls and philosophical illusions contained therein.
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on 1 June 1998
In this tome, the radical (root) principles and ideas of religion, spiritualism, and religiosity are exposed. The logic and examinations herein reveal that the world's major religions are, at best, the illogical products of human ignorance, and at worst they are outright frauds.
Atheists, skeptics, agnostics, and even some religionists, will find the arguments presented here compelling, exciting, and challenging.
The points Smith makes are so cogent and well reasoned, that religious people will not directly confront or argue against them, preferring instead to change subjects whenever they are confronted with the crushing force of logic in Smith's arguments.
While a large segment of this book argues against the Christian god, and Christian ideas (becasue it was written in, and for, a predominantly Christian culture), the arguments are just as valid against the god-ideas of any other religion.
This book is a must for anyone who questions religion, and has doubts about the existence of any gods.
Make no mistake, this is not just an excellent argument against the idea of god, and against the 'need' for religions which posit the existence of a god, it is also an excellent display of logic, deductive, and inductive reasoning. Few college logic courses make such good use of logical argument and reason.
The political and social implications of atheism and religion are not within the scope of this book's examinations. However, one can not help but ask such questions as , ''Since there is no god, how can it be ethical to allow organizations promoting such an idea to remain tax exempt?", or "What beneficial, useful things could be done with the $100 billion which are given to churches and religions each year in America?", or "To what extent has the dumbing down of Americans in the public schools caused the rise in spiritual or religious belief in America?", or "Can a culture's backwardness be determined by its peoples' devotion to old religious ideas?".
-Brian Lynch
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on 12 April 2007
I am already of the opinion that all organised religions are anti-human and George Smith explains clearly why this is so.

In a simple and straightforward style the author describes the tricks of religious arguments and exposes its supporters for what they are - anti-human advocates of irrationality.

If you have ever questioned why you feel uncomfortable about religion this author is an excellent resource

George H Smith's book 'Ayn Rand And Other Heresies' is also excellent reading.
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