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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2015
The God Delusion is one of my all-time favourite books and I agree with other reviewers that this book makes an excellent companion.

When I was practising as a full-time hypnotherapist I saw first-hand how entrenched false / irrational beliefs can cause long-term misery. This book takes a similar view by approaching people 'infected with the faith virus' as needing an intervention - not debate or criticism or facts - none of which have historically been shown to have the required impact, but a calm, structured 'interventional deconstruction' of how the beliefs were arrived at in the first place.

This approach is spot-on in my opinion. Most religious people operate from 'confirmation bias' - start with a conclusion and then work backwards to justify it - something one hears over and over again from the street preachers, pulpit and teachers of the 'faith virus'.

Time to kick the legs out from under the beliefs table-top!

The strategy is that used to de-program so-called 'cult members' (Scientologists, Moonies, etc) - a category the author feels mainstream religions are comparable with.

Not a quick read as there is much to learn, ponder and practice, however you will gain a 'de-programming' skill that can be applied to many everyday situations, so well worth the time.

Highly recommended.
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on 5 October 2014
Well constructed with some interesting arguments. Clearly American - coming from England I can assure him that noone strikes up conversations with strangers about anything but the weather. Mr B wants us to engage fellow shoppers in Socratic dialogues about the meaning of faith. I can't see this happening in my local branch of Morrisons - Waitrose, possibly.
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on 29 September 2014
I'm an atheist. I thought I might be an agnostic but this uncompromising book put me firmly in my place. Prof. Boghosson takes no prisoners...and he leaves no room for sentiment. He does, of course, make it clear that the therapeutic techniques he describes to 'cure' people are aimed at the illness of faith not the people who 'host' the illness. His motive is to help them recover their rationalism and mental freedom by ridding themselves of the stultifying shackles of religion.

Even if you are a non believer, you might find his 'going for the jugular' techniques rather harsh...or maybe not.

I loved it but I'm not sure I am ready to unleash these methods on my believer friends and colleagues.
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on 6 February 2014
The arguments for atheism, naturalism and secular humanism are around for quite a long time. So why is faith so resistant against them and what can be done to address this problem?

You get some answers to this question when reading Peter Boghossians book.
Basically he advocates a Socratic strategy of making people doubt by simply asking questions pointing to possible inconsistencies of their views. That's not novel but always deserves a reminder. More important is the authors insisting claim that we shouldn't accept an intellectual and social preserve for religious faith, treating it as a no-touch private preference or matter of taste. Boghossian's attack on constructivism and epistemological and moral (multicultural) relativism as an academic and social aberration is justified and deserves support. So far the motivating aspects of the book.

But unfortunately there are severe flaws. The author has no empathy for religious people. You can't understand the comforting effects of faith by simply stating that there is no evidence for it. For example many people want to believe that there beloved ones still exist somehow and somewhere after having passed away. Wrong - but we should be able to feel some empathy for the emotionally comforting effect of such wishful thinking. Lack of that pushes Boghossian to demand that we should try to talk everybody out of his or her faith, people personally unknown to us, everybody, everywhere, in principle regardless of the personal situation (desperate life conditions, terminal illness, high age, psychological stability or instability?). And here things begin to turn unpleasant and even potentially dangerous.

When finally classifying religious faith as a mental disease which should be addressed by public health programs Boghossian risks to shift to sectarianism and make his whole principally laudable enterprise look ridiculous. Religions are out-dated ways of interpreting the world and finding orientation in life but they are no diseases (with violent fanaticism as a borderline case between crime and mental disorder). If not so a considerable part of arts and human civilization would just be the product of insane people. Sounds a bit ahistorical, doesn't it?
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on 4 August 2015
By far the best explanation of what is wrong with faith. Cuts through the bulls*** and cuts straight to the chase. Epistemology. Is it true? how can you know? Not read anything by him before but introduced me to the idea of motivational interviewing as a method of avoiding pointless arguments with people who don't know how to reason. may not convert those who have faith but it will expose their faith as pretending to know something they don't. Cheap and to the point: probably the best book I brought this year ('Better Angels of our Nature' was the best last year).
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on 23 August 2016
A good try, but too repetitious of things the average reader of atheist books already knows. Its analysis of science vs. religion is informative, yet there are times it leaves the door open for reasonable doubt.

The reason most atheist books cannot lock up their case is that they rely entirely on science to prove their case. Few have read the enemy's books-scripture.

I ran across a book written by a man who spent a lifetime studying and participating in each of the world's major religions. Confessions of a Murdered Pope proves beyond a shadow of a doubt God--as defined by religion today--does not exist. No doubt about it.

In a wealth of fun and entertaining chats of a ten year old boy with his bewildered father,
Confessions of a Murdered Pope traces the evolution of Christianity from the Neanderthals, to the Cro-Magnons, to the Celtics, to the Egyptians, to the Hebrews, to the Grecians, to those who wrote of Jesus. Proves religion evolves just like any other social practice, each `prophet' building on the imagination of those who came before him.
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on 12 January 2014
I left my family religion in my teens and, even after I left both the religion and the city, I still had heated arguments with family and church members when I visited my family on holidays.

I wish I'd read this book, because it shows you how to persuade without arguing, using pointed questioning to drill down to the foundational beliefs that the religious take on faith, and how not to accept the slippery "because I have faith" answer. If your goal is to persuade, then Boghossian's approach is far more effective than arguing with the religious on the metaphysics of deities or specific points of politics, morality and science.
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on 23 January 2014
Despite the (pragmatic) title, this book is really "A manual for creating rational thinkers". The atheism part is just a natural conclusion that must come to anyone as a result of thinking critically and rationally. The opposite of proselytising, it helps and espouses 'HOW to think (clearly)', rather than the religiously favoured of 'WHAT to think'.

Furthermore, Peter Boghossian's method of "challenging the faith virus" is the first I've come across that bridges the gap from just knowing that it's not moral to stay silent, to crucially, having the tools and confidence to be able to actually try and help those afflicted by faith. And to do it in a proactive, sincere and non-confrontational way. Activism is what's needed to rid the world of faith and its harmful effects, and this book is ESSENTIAL for that.

I'm finding the real examples of "interventions' particularly helpful, and looking forward to the TV programme "Reason Whisperer' which will apparently show more of these real life interventions.
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on 16 November 2013
I'm a confirmed atheist already. I rejected religion as a child, getting into trouble for missing RE lessons and singing childishly amusing versions of hymns at school. I took no notice of it at all through my 20s and 30s and then whilst working far from home and staying in hotels, I actually sat and thought through all of the tenets and tales of christianity. I even read the bible from cover to cover. I came out of this exercise completely against all forms of sky fairy worship; I can't keep quiet if anyone says anything even vaguely religious but I do try to make people laugh whilst inserting little bits of reason into their brains.
I am one of the people who Peter Boghossian is trying to reach with this book; I have a burning need to cure people of the mental illness that is religion, and this book has given me new weaponry to assist my mission.
Faith = Pretending to know something that you don't know.
Excellent book.
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on 16 September 2016
Bought a couple of these, one for my friend. It's pretty useful as it gives you a lot of information about psychology and how to have conversations without getting people defensive, once they're defensive you can't expect a civil and honest discussion about things. It's not so much about converting people but more about getting them to think a bit more, whether or not that deconverts people I still think it's a good thing to get people to think more about what they believe.
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