Jeff's Reviews > I Don't Believe in Atheists

I Don't Believe in Atheists by Chris Hedges
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's review
Mar 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: lieberry_books, non-fiction
Read in May, 2008

A very quick read ... perhaps because it's so repetitious ... perhaps because it's very like a sermon. The latter semi-criticism is what reminds me of Sam Harris's The End of Faith. But this is a response to and criticism of that book, almost exclusively, though Hedges says it grew out of debates he had with Harris as well as Richard Dawkins.

I'm extremely pleased that i read this book because it allows me to distance myself intellectually from Harris's work—it's not exactly painful to admit, but ... — End of Faith moved me tremendously as i read it. The main points in the Hedges book seem more clearly to rebut the main points in the Dawkins book, but Hedges more frequently cites and rebukes and dismisses and attacks Harris.

I don't think that everything Dawkins and Harris had to say should be ignored or rejected, but Hedges seems to want to throw them out with the bathwater—something he accuses them of doing when they dismiss "religionists" (specifically Muslims, in Harris's case). I can't blame Hedges for this desire, because he is a flawed human (one of his main points).

The most important idea in Hedges's book—to my way of thinking—is the assertion that humanity, societies, nations, groups of people do not and never have been marching toward perfection (moral or intellectual or evolutionary or political or social). People are as fundamentally flawed today as they have ever been. We are animals ... with the potential for transcendence but with equal potential for brutality. I would've liked to read a chapter of his that lays out in great and exhaustive detail the Truth of this assertion, rather than expect every reader to take it as given.

I'd like to say more about this book but it's time to go to dinner.

Maybe the next book i read on the subject of "science vs. religion" will turn my attentions in yet another direction?

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