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Atheism: A Reader

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  152 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
This unique anthology assembles the best writings on atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism by some of the world's great thinkers past and present. Arranged to address the most significant questions pertaining to religious belief-the existence of God, immortality, the nature of religious belief, and religion in relation to science, ethics, politics, and society-the selection ...more
Paperback, 346 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Prometheus Books
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Steven Williams
Mar 01, 2015 Steven Williams rated it liked it
The individual chapters were good to very good overall. A Few can even be considered excellent. Although there were few arguments specifically for atheism, many of these pieces provide various critiques of the ways that religion is harmful. My only real qualm is with the title. Joshi's use of atheism is not very accurate. Most of the chapters were not written by professed atheists. This was very disappointing to me. I do not consider agnosticism as on par with atheism. While an agnostic will sus ...more
Mar 10, 2014 William rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Hundreds of essays and documents of by and for those of us who regard religion as a massively shared psychosis for which together we can find a cure in order to insure and enhance the survival of our species.
Aug 09, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I initially gave this 3 stars. Despite the preponderance of negativity that follows, this collection of essays is worth spending your time reading. Just because i don't agree with everything that's said in its pages is no reason to downgrade the value of the content. The size is undaunting. The material is neither too dense and scholarly nor too simple and flimsy.

Based solely on the intro essay, i took a dislike to the way Joshi thinks and expresses himself immediately. I'd label him a bad athei
Mar 05, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it
S.T Joshi has edited several books, all of which I like because of his aggressive style and willingness to take literary and publishing chances. This book is no different. It is a collection of essays, but what makes this book so good is the collected authors. Secular Humanist writing and thinking has many people to thank, and this book does just that in including them.
In eight parts, Joshi manages to represent Thomas Huxley, Carl Van Doren, Percey Bysshe Shelley, Robert Ingersoll, John Stuart M
Apr 03, 2016 Roman rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of excellent essays and writing on atheism and non-belief. I gave it 5 stars, even though I was not pleased with the introduction. Skipping that, the selection of essays is very well done and showed me several works I was previously unaware of. It shows that belief, and religious leanings in general, have never been simply a given at any point in human history. Overall, I highly recommend this collection.
Jan 10, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: atheists looking for cocktail-party conversation
An interesting collection of historical and modern essays from the atheist perspective on the role of religion in science, politics, culture, and sex. All the classic heathens are here (Spinoza, TH Huxley, Russel, Darwin, Lovecraft), along with selections from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gore Vidal, Clarence Darrow, the incomparable HL Mencken, George Eliot, and more. One star off for poor copy editing, which resulted in many distracting typos.
Feb 23, 2009 brendanoblivion marked it as to-read
the greg graffin book (is belief in god good, bad, or irrelevant) inspired me to pick this up, along with the agnostic reader. i just wanna be a better non-believer, i guess. i've also read a great deal of s.t. joshi's excellent h.p. lovecraft related output, so i can trust that these collections have been intelligently assembled.
Sep 20, 2008 Abbey rated it it was amazing
A fascinating anthology of free thinkers, mostly American, mostly 19th and 20th century, almost entirely white male. It's a must-read for anyone wanting to know why there has always been a persistent minority of people for whom faith is incomprehensible.
Excellent book, An anthology covering a wide group of authors and time periods, from Lucretius in 60 BC to Carl Sagan in 1995. 8 chapters, 30 authors, very good book.
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T 1 1 Mar 05, 2012 04:27PM  
  • The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods
  • Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided
  • Atheism: A Philosophical Justification
  • The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason
  • The Atheist's Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity
  • 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists
  • Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life
  • The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True
  • Women Without Superstition: No Gods--No Masters: The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  • Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy
  • Does God Exist?
  • The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions
  • The Necessity of Atheism and Other Essays
  • God Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of the Bible
  • The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality
  • What's God Got to Do with it? Robert Ingersoll on Free Thought, Honest Talk & the Separation of Church & State
  • The Drama of Atheist Humanism
  • Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist
Sunand Tryambak Joshi (b. 22 June 1958 in Pune, India) is an Indian American literary scholar, and a leading figure in the study of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and other authors. Besides what some critics consider to be the definitive biography of Lovecraft (H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, 1996), Joshi has written about Ambrose Bierce, H. L. Mencken, Lord Dunsany, and M.R. James, and has edited collections ...more
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“The atheist, agnostic, or secularist ... should guard against the encroachment of religion in areas where it has no place, and in particular the control of education by religious authority. The attempts to ban the teaching of evolution or other scientific theories -- a feeble echo of medieval church tyranny and hostility to learning, but an echo nonetheless are serious threats to freedom of inquiry and should be vigorously combated.” 14 likes
“The atheist, agnostic, or secularist ... should not be cowed by exaggerated sensitivity to people's religious beliefs and fail to speak vigorously and pointedly when the devout put forth arguments manifestly contrary to all the acquired knowledge of the past two or three millennia. Those who advocate a piece of folly like the theory of an 'intelligent creator' should be held accountable for their folly; they have no right to be offended for being called fools until they establish that they are not in fact fools. Religiously inclined writers like Stephen L Carter may plead that 'respect' should be accorded to religious views in public discourse, but he neglects to demonstrate that those views are worthy of respect. All secularists -- scientists, literary figures, even politicians (if there are any such with the requisite courage) -- should speak out on the issue when the opportunity presents itself.” 7 likes
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