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Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #99)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  672 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Atheism is often considered to be a negative, dark, and pessimistic belief which is characterised by a rejection of values and purpose and a fierce opposition to religion. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral. It also confronts the failure of ...more
Paperback, 119 pages
Published August 28th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,630)
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Paul Bryant
Jul 09, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: godreads

They do say that there are no atheists in foxholes, but foxes don’t go to confession either. So how do we know? If foxes DID go to confession, however...wavy lines on the screen - dissolve to :


Mr Fox : Father, forgive me, I have sinned.

Priest: What did you do, son?

Mr Fox : Do you have to ask? Another six chickens this week. And, I had lustful thoughts. I looked at internet fox porn. You know I have an iPad, and that stuff is only three clicks away.

Priest: (Adopting an Irish accent,
Mostafa Saad
Aug 31, 2013 Mostafa Saad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
I can not describe the large and deep impact this book has done -and will do maybe- regarding me, my thoughts and attitude towards atheism and atheists .. Such a great, fantastic book.. So so well organized with rational arguments and quiet words. A nice, simple way of writing, easy-to-understand for non-native English speakers.
It is formed of a short preface, 7 chapters constituting the main bulk, few pages for references and further reading, then an index.

"Chapter 1: What Is Atheism? Simply: t
Jan 19, 2011 Halden rated it really liked it
God is just one of the things that atheists don’t believe in, it just happens to be the thing that, for historical reasons, gave them their name.

Atheism: A very short introduction Julian Baggini

Julian Baggini’s short introduction to atheism is an excellent run down of the basic principles and arguments for atheism. The strongest point for this book is its emphasis on the positive aspects of atheism rather than spiralling into an anti-religious diatribe.

Atheism is not a faith position because it
Jordan Peacock
Jul 19, 2012 Jordan Peacock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know those rides at the amusement park with the little measurements beside the gate, and the sign reading "You must be this tall to ride"?

This book (and 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God) have become that height marker for me when it comes to discussing atheism. There is so much ill will, pretentious ignorance and straw man caricatures when religious people try to discuss atheism, that I've pretty much stopped engaging in discussions unless people can prove a minimal baseline of
Jul 31, 2011 Riikka rated it it was amazing
This book is EXCELLENT. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in atheism and the logic and rational thinking that goes with it. I only give five stars to books where every page is worth reading. This is definitely one of those books.
Jul 08, 2011 mcat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book at B&N and was genuinely curious and excited to read it. While the substance of the book was good - provided a discussion of background, history, atheist views and arguments re: morality, the meaning of life, among other things - I found the tone to be condescending. It felt as though I was reading a book for other atheists, that I was eavesdropping on a conversation I was not invited to. (I don't believe that was the author's intent, and I am sure there are many theist ...more
Nov 02, 2015 Simon rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book on atheism and humanism, exploring atheism and related issues from the arguments for that cause to morals, and the meaning of life.
It is very well organized, with a humble tone, and without any lecturing.
A very short introduction but it thoroughly covers the subject without neither hasty description nor tedious discussion. This great book by the philosopher Julian Baggini is divided into these chapters:
1. What is atheism?
2. The case for atheism
3. Atheist ethics
4. Meanin
Irakli Kavtaradze
Apr 13, 2014 Irakli Kavtaradze rated it it was amazing
ეს წიგნი ტიპიური ოქსფორდის გამოცემაა. მცირე წიგნში მაქსიმალური ლაკონურობით არის გადმოცემული თანამედროვე ათეიზმის ძირითადი პრინციპები. კითხვის დროს არ გიჩნდება განცდა, რომ რაიმე ზედმეტი წაიკითხე (თუმცა ეს გამოცდილების მიხედვით განსხვავებული იქნება). ავტორი დახვეწილი სტილით წერს, ტერმინები პოპულარულსა და აკადემიურს შორისაა. თუმცა იყო წინადადებები, რომლების აღქმაც გამიჭირდა.

ავტორის მიზანი არის ათეიზმი წარმოაჩინოს, როგორც პოზიტიური მსოფლმხედველობა (self-contained) და არა რაიმეს (რელიგიის) უარყოფაზე
Jan 26, 2011 Dan rated it liked it
This book provides a brief outline of the naturalistic outlook of atheists. The author is careful to not identify himself as a militant atheist.

Baggini admits "I have a strong feeling that my arguments are powerless in the face of a strong desire for or belief in life after death." Every atheist who has tried to talk to a died-in-the-wool Christian about his beliefs will understand this sentiment. They have made up their mind and there is no going back to reevaluate now. It would be too dangerou
Jun 16, 2012 Andrew marked it as to-read
Shelves: philosophy
I'm a card carrying atheist, so it should come as no surprise that I feel validated by a book that sketches out well-reasoned responses to the most common objections to atheism.

The first chapter locates atheism within the philosophical traditions of naturalism and physicalism. It also shows that despite the etymology of the term, atheism does not rely on any religion to exist. Atheists would believe what they do (due to their firmly established philosophical underpinnings), whether or not any r
محمد  الخواص
Sep 20, 2014 محمد الخواص rated it really liked it

لقد كان من دواعى السرور والشرف ان اكتب هذا الكتاب لسلسلة مقدمات قصيرة جدا الرائعة .وللحفاظ على روح تلك السلسلة عملت ان يكون هذا الكتاب سهل القراءة وممتع متجنبا الجفاف الاكاديمى مع السعى على الحفاظ على ارتفاع مستوى التماسك والكفاءة الفكرية . لقد تركت مسألة الحكم على ذلك للاخرين
من اجل تجنب العقم المنهجى فاننى لم اتبع التقاليد الاكاديمية الصارمة فى ذكر المصادر والمراجع التى اعتمدت عليها وبدلا من ذلك قمت بعمل قائمة فى نهاية الكتاب تضم المراجع والمصادر بالاضافة الى اقتراحات لقراءة المزيد . اتمنى ان ي
Matthew Lloyd
Feb 03, 2016 Matthew Lloyd rated it really liked it
I first realised I was an atheist in 2007. Besides studying the not-exactly atheist Of The Nature Of Things by Lucretius, I didn't do much about it until around 2010, which would be about when I bought this book and read God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. I read many online articles about atheism and thought about a great many things, particularly how far I identify as an 'atheist' (I only put it as my religious view on Facebook after seeing that a younger cousin had and feeling an un ...more
Jan 21, 2011 Jaclyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The topic absolutely fascinates me, but it's hard to find a book on the topic that doesn't a) talk down to you if you happen to believe in God b) state atheism as simply against organized religion. Not believing in organized religion is NOT not believing in God. Baggini write this perfectly.
Xiaoqing Wang
Sep 02, 2011 Xiaoqing Wang rated it really liked it
It's a succinct read so far, brings new insight of atheism to me. I am quite convinced by the author that morality doesn't call for a deity existence, but oddly I find myself more favorable of agnosticism after reading this book. Will add more comments after I finish it.
Jan 01, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
A dry read and not the easy to share with religious family members type of book that I had originally hoped for but not bad overall.
N.J. Ramsden
Feb 12, 2014 N.J. Ramsden rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I little too much of the built-in pre-emptive defensiveness here for it to be a really balanced outline study of atheism. It almost feels as though this book had been written not for the objective reader, but for the reader with some chip on their shoulder of unknown proportion. Which is a shame, as Baggini ends up problematizing the supposed objectivity that should be the core of such a book. Perhaps they should subtitle the next edition "Scared of Atheists? Read this!"

Not one of the more succe
May 12, 2010 Landon rated it really liked it
I decided to re-read this book, three years after the first time I read it. I was originally unimpressed by the book, but having given it another chance I think it is a fine introduction to the topic. While I don't agree with the way Baggini structures the discussion in some areas, there are some pretty good sections that make up for those shortcomings. The chapter making the case for atheism is good as a general introduction, and would be good to use in the philosophy of religion section of an ...more
Oct 24, 2010 Steve rated it liked it
For the most part, this Very Short Introduction is a lively and enjoyable guide which sets out to counter various myths about atheism and to make it more palatable to the non-atheist. Author Baggini breezes through a handful of key areas - ethics, purpose, history, and so on - bringing his admirable philosophical knowledge to bear on each contending argument, and presenting it in a down-to-earth and amiable style.

One pivotal area of contention in the theist-atheist debate is how to define athei
Draco3seven Crawdady
Dec 04, 2007 Draco3seven Crawdady rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Western Christians
Standard gobbledygook on Atheism... if you believe in science as is defined by the materialism (thus the material world too) and God (as is defined by Western religion), then this book is short and easy and for you... Its scope and limitations, is that it only gives a materialist/scientific explanation for atheism. There are much more sophisticated versions of Atheism. This book however does distinguish that atheist need not be of the insistent type (i.e. Dawkins). I for one, are an Atheist and ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Eunice rated it liked it
A short introduction into atheism. It outlined the case for atheism and its place in history while explaining its importance as a force in a world dominated by religion. It is not extremely detailed and the author admitted several times that he would not go into several points that I was interested in. However, its simplicity and straight-forward language made it a rather worthwhile read.

A summary of its main points:

1. Atheism is rooted in naturalism, the belief that only a natural world exists,
Benjamin Torres
Apr 22, 2014 Benjamin Torres rated it really liked it
It is indeed a very short book so I wasn't expecting any new thought or argument, but I do think that the author presents the arguments really well and to the point.
I specially liked the chapter about morality and I have to admit I didn't knew all those theories he talks about. I think is great that the author guides the reader at the end of the book to some other references, books and authors with much more to say on atheism.
Jan 30, 2015 Ramsey rated it really liked it
Going into this book, I honestly wasn't expecting anything that I haven't seen before in other books on atheism. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a more philosophical approach that focused less on presenting all the logic and evidence in support of atheism, and more on portraying atheism as a viable worldview compatible with morality and personal fulfillment. While it wasn't quite a "can't-put-it-down" page-turner, I definitely encountered some new and thought-provoking ideas.
Apr 03, 2015 Solveig rated it really liked it
Shelves: english, non-fiction
The more books I read from the 'A Very Short Introduction' series, the more I like this idea. Baggini's book on Atheism is no exception. It is a popularly written argument for the truth of atheism, and a very good one at that. However, in keeping with the science pay of the 'popular science' ethos, it acknowledges that the rational arguments being made for the validity of atheism and the falsity of religion are not related to what generally males people religious.
Mitch Flitcroft
Sep 29, 2015 Mitch Flitcroft rated it it was amazing
A clear, concise and compelling introduction to atheism. The first 40 pages lay a strong case for atheism, leading to a discussion of atheist ethics, purpose and history. A quick and easy read for anybody interested in atheism, believers and nonbelievers alike.
Steven Dunn
Nov 11, 2015 Steven Dunn rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
More accurately I would give this book 2.5 stars. I have never been too interested in Baggini's work but I figure this little defense of atheism will keep me away from diving further into his overall body of work.
Jan 23, 2014 Mina rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
As an introduction to a topic .. a general one, written by someone who clearly says " I am biased" from the very beginning .. it was OK!

Says nothing new, to me at least, for me it was just like a train of thoughts, the ones you get to hear when you are in a general discussion where none of the parties really want to go further past a pleasant (or not!) thoughts exchange!

I actually read it as a time killer, I had nothing better to do at the time, could not concentrate with anything, so just wan
Jeffrey Backlin
Mar 16, 2014 Jeffrey Backlin rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, atheism
My mother-in-law gave this book to me thinking it was a critique of atheism. While brief, a helpful presentation of atheism from the author's point of view.
Aug 26, 2014 M.E rated it liked it
he managed to make (a good case for atheism) but for sure deep philosophical conflicts between religions and atheism is not meant to be solved here. The book fulfills his goal in an scientific way and that is it.
Tiffany Blue thompson
Interesting arguement but not wholly approachable.
Aug 27, 2013 Moad rated it it was ok
Shelves: atheism
It is truly a great book and well-written. A real help for those who have a faint idea about what Atheism is about. It reviews why atheists choose not to believe in gods or in a god. The consequences of this decision in their lives and the meaning it brings into question. The morals of atheists vs that of religion. The best part was about debunking the ontological arguments for the existence of God. As for me, I haven't learned much. It's just the same ideas that I already knew, maybe that's why ...more
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Julian Baggini is a British philosopher and the author of several books about philosophy written for a general audience. He is the author of The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and 99 other thought experiments (2005) and is co-founder and editor of The Philosophers' Magazine. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1996 from University College London for a thesis on the philosophy of personal identity. In addition ...more
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“Morality is more than possible without God, it is entirely independent of him.” 13 likes
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