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Atheism: The Case Against God

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,189 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
With this intriguing introduction, George H Smith sets out to demolish what he considers the most widespread and destructive of all the myths devised by man - the concept of a supreme being. With painstaking scholarship and rigorous arguments, Mr. Smith examines, dissects, and refutes the myriad "proofs" offered by theists - the defenses of sophisticated, professional theo ...more
Published (first published September 1st 1979)
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(showing 1-30)
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Artiom Karsiuk
This book is a mindfuck and a half.
Having gotten that out of the way, let me explain why. You know how LEGO toys have these convenient age ranges/suggestions on their boxes? This book should most definitely have an IQ sticker on it saying "120 or above". You see, I used to consider myself a bright guy. I did. Not an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination, but, let's say, nine times out of ten I could tell clay and toffee apart. But this book was meant for a far more educated or, to put i
...more
Ryan
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several of the hosts and guests on Point of Inquiry (one of my favorite podcasts) refer to this as The Book. After reading it, I can see why. Smith boldly states his aim early on: "It is not my purpose to convert people to atheism...but to demonstrate that the belief in God is irrational to the point of absurdity. If a person wishes to continue believing in a god, that is his prerogative, but he can no longer excuse his belief in the name of reason and moral necessity." Using amazingly clear log ...more
Onyango Makagutu
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every rational person should read this book. It comes close to being the second book after the bible to justify atheism
M.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe the reason this book is so underrated and overlooked is because George H. Smith isn't a decorated academic and/or isn't outspoken enough to be considered one of the important "celebrity" atheists of our generation. Don't let this fool you, because Smith is a skilled logician and an effective writer who presents a razor sharp and pragmatist worldview where the idea of god is useless and contradictory, serving no purpose for anyone who cares about logic and reason. I will point out that ...more
Jessaka
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I read this book years ago, but I really don't care for these kinds of books because their arguments are always so predictable and lame, just as are the books in favor of some religion.

But I was talking with an atheist friend of mine about religion the other day, and she made a comment that made me really laugh:

“I was raised a Catholic,” she said and then went on, “I was told that God is on your right hand side, and the devil is on your left, and that they are always fighting for your soul. God
...more
Steve
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scepticism, favorites
More than 30 years before Dawkins penned his own bestseller, Atheism: The Case Against God was first published and went on to become one of the biggest selling atheist books of the twentieth century. Quite right too, as this excellent critique of theism is a magnificent testament to the power of logic. It's somewhat surprising to learn that author George H. Smith was still in his early 20s when he wrote it.

Concentrating on the philosophical arguments against God's existence, the deep intellectu
...more
Mark Wilson
This is a profitable book for a Christian to read, as it presents an intelligent critique of theism. Unfortunately, I felt that the case against the Christian God never got as strong as I hoped, with the preference being to reduce Christian theism to be akin to generic "well, uh, I believe in something higher that this" variety theism. I wouls have liked him to have approached head on the concept that the Bible is God's self-revelation, and to have used how the Bible defines God, rather that nam ...more
James Bruce
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars because it's probably the best book presenting a rational case against God I've read. (I'm a theist btw [and just for clarity, that space is supposed to be there]) It's still relevant even though it was written in the '70s. (I think it was published in 1979)

It's serious and philosophically tight, not the militant, philosophically ignorant silliness being published by Dawkins, Harris, et al.
Ana Rînceanu
This book will take some time to read so be prepared: it's a dense, but interesting defense of atheism.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Yes, I am an atheist, and was before I ever opened this book. I guess the reason I rate this book so highly is because it's a philosophical approach dealing with the various arguments for a God. Too often what I've seen dubbed "The New Atheism" comes across as hectoring, shrill, even, dare I say, evangelical, with all the sophistication of a three-year-old stamping their feet and screaming "Religion sucks."

There are a couple of chapters on the consequences and "sins" of religion, yes, but at th
...more
Worthless Bum
There are basically two ways in which one can argue against god and religion: either they are false or harmful. This book concerns itself with the former and in that capacity it is probably the best book ever written. It is unquestionably the best book I have ever read which takes the god-is-false approach to argue against god. Smith shows in simple, lucid reasoning how the notion of a god is an ill conceived and incoherent mish mash of purely irrational nonsense. It is difficult to conceive how ...more
Derek Perumean
I read this book years ago and looked at it again recently because of my old Army buddy who is attending Biola was interested in atheism. Although this book is old and some of the arguments dated (I'm thinking here of the arguments from guys like Plantinga or Swinburne) I would still recommend this before I would ever tell someone to pick up Dennett, Harris or the sophist Dawkins (his book is utter garbage). Smith's book will get you thinking. About the only bad thing I can say about it is that ...more
Asadullah Ali
George H. Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God purports to be a book showing the irrationality of Theism. Full of critical arguments (some of which are valid), it seems to be a very scholarly text to be taken seriously. There is one major flaw however, for anyone who has even the most basic philosophical training.

Smith claims that "Atheism is not the absence of belief in God plus certain positive beliefs: atheism is the absence of belief in God. If we can show theism to be unsupported, false o
...more
L
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-changing
It was this book, read when I was 19, that put a name to what I'd been feeling for two years. Smith labeled my beliefs that I had only until that point thought were "lacks" of beliefs, intangible and unknowable. This book did nothing to "sway" or "lure" me; I knew what I was feeling long before this. I just didn't have a definitive name for it. I exhaled deeply when I read that others felt the same way, even though I didn't "come out" until thirteen years later. This little book will always have ...more
Jonathan
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris, and now I just wish I started with this one.

This is hands down the most important, complete, and succinct book on the fradulence of theism ever written.

It is generally written in laymen's language, impeccably written, and beautifully organized. The only drawback is that it doesn't comment on Islam or Judaism, but considering when and where the book was written, that's forgivable.

Read this book FIRST. I wish I had.


Book
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atheism-religion
Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith

"Atheism: The Case Against God" is an accessible, scholarly philosophical book that makes compelling arguments against the concept of a supreme being. It's a book that offers cogent arguments to the question of god() in a logical manner. This 355-page book is composed of the following four parts: 1. Atheism and God, 2. Reason, Faith and Revelation, 3. The Arguments for God, and 4. God: The Practical Consequences.

Positives:

1. A thorough, well-wri
...more
Jason Mills
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Atheists and theists...
Recommended to Jason by: Hmm. Shaker?
Smith's book dates from 1979. You might expect it to be peppered with scientific arguments that might now be out of date, but in fact he doesn't use any. Arguing that atheism is the default and remaining position if theism does not hold up, Smith spends the whole of his 300 pages hacking away at theism from a purely philosophical perspective.

This is a rigorous, trenchant attack on the evasions and smoke-clouds of theology. Although he focuses on christianity for cultural reasons, Smith's argumen
...more
Sancho
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a demanding book, as it addresses the case of (a)theism from a philosophical perspective. It is very interesting, and I learned a lot from reading it. The author uses very logic arguments, although it requires time and dedication to really understand them, to digest all the discussions, facts and reasoning presented. The author presents his pragmatic view of the world, and I am sure he has managed to awaken a spark of doubt in many theists, at least in those that are intelectually honest ...more
Daniela
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Smith finally points out what theism, atheism and agnosticism are, the true definition and not the socially spread ones. I barely began this book, but i already f**king love it. It is the best book I read on religion so far. Gaorge Smith destroys the concept of God with no facts or Bible quotations, he just attacks the concepts we have developped on this matter and points out the contradictions, simple, blunt words. It looks so simple that you tell yourself "why didn't I see that? It's ri ...more
sologdin
Something of a libertarian's atheism, rather than a marxist/materialist's atheism. Thoughtful, as far as it goes, but lacking in rigor or perspective at times. The defects are mostly on the margin, such as when objectivist author snipes gratuitously at leftwing politics: biblical injunction, e.g., that those who do not work shall not eat is criticized specifically because it is later a Leninist position.
Ed Buckner
This book (which i read too far back to really know when I read it) is the classic in making the case that atheism is wiser than agnosticism (though not incompatible with it) and logically superior to theism. The book starts off a bit slowly/ponderously, but it builds to its conclusion quite effectively. Ultimately a good read for anyone who wants to understand atheism and its logical basis.
Emanuel Landeholm
No God is fine with me, and this work makes a clear case for that. However, I don't need Randianism as a substitute!
Isaac Carpenter
Smith's TCAG has two purposes. The first purpose is to make a case against the concept of God. The second is a psychological case against that same belief (x). TCAG is, IMO, a halfway house between professional atheist philosophical opinion & the New Atheists. It's a bit more philosophically rigorous than Sam Harris, say - but it still retains enough snarkiness to really remove it from the realm of a professional philosophical book. This isn't necessarily a complaint - as if somehow Smith `w ...more
Landon
Mar 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part One of this book is basically essential reading for people who want a clear understanding of how the debate about the existence of God should be framed. Smith does a good job defining the terms and setting the stage for the debate. His discussion of atheism and agnosticism is valuable, and he forcefully makes the point that the burden of proof is on the theist. He also has a pretty good discussion about the concept of God, and the importance of getting clear about the concept before we can ...more
Dan Cross
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you still believe in an anthropomorphic God without question after reading this book you've got more faith than I can fathom. This is most detailed take-down of every argument for the Western Theism that I've read, besides the much dryer writing of Michael Martin.
Dave
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't become an atheist, but I did enjoy this calm and and ruthlessly logical book exploring, and then discarding, some traditional conceptions of God. I later became familiar with other concepts of deity/supreme reality and might want to revisit this text soon to see how my opinions might have altered. I look forward to re-reading this lucid, legalistic defense of atheism.
Daniel
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atheism
When I first started this book, I was told that George H. Smith was not like Richard Dawkins. In terms of his politeness for theistic world-views, he does have a level of charitableness that if ever found in Richard Dawkins would be be an argument for the existence of God in and of itself. However, in the extent that Smith offers any profound objections to theism, specifically the theism of Christianity, Smith leaves the well-versed philosopher of religion and atheists wanting more at the end of ...more
Gonzalo Corvera
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy interesante, muy confrontacional y pasional. Aunque más que una defensa del ateísmo es un rechazo al cristianismo, es diferente a otros en que sus argumentos son predominantemente en lógica formal y teoría filosófica, si bien escrito por un joven de 22 años que sólo sabe de filosofía lo que ha leído por si cuenta. De ahí su estilo confrontacional.

Muy interesante su revisión de la imposibilidad de los teistas por definir lo que es dios, incluyendo el concepto de trascendencia epistemiológica
...more
David O'Reilly
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading for any atheist

Although complicated in parts, it presents a carefully laid out argument. Even though it was written in the 70s, it remains absolutely relevant today.
Gary
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gives a devastating take on theism and a brilliant defense for atheism and was published in 1979. For the most part he presents a more coherent and consistent set of arguments than the more recent books defending atheism do.

The author is not a philosopher (he seems to be more of a political writer than anything else) but he's very clever in his logical constructions and what words really mean. He starts off by discussing what an atheist really is, shows how definitions of God usually a
...more
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The Hitler button 3 17 Mar 11, 2012 03:12PM  
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“It is my firm conviction that man has nothing to gain, emotionally or otherwise, by adhering to a falsehood, regardless of how comfortable or sacred that falsehood may appear. Anyone who claims, on the one hand, that he is concerned with human welfare, and who demands, on the other hand, that man must suspend or renounce the use of his reason, is contradicting himself.

There can be no knowledge of what is good for man apart from knowledge of reality and human nature, and there is no manner in which this knowledge can be acquired except through reason. To advocate irrationality is to advocate that which is destructive to human life.”
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“When conformity is required, as it is in Christianity, what are the results? To begin with, the sacrifice of truth inevitably follows. One can be committed to conformity or one can be committed to truth, but not both. The pursuit of truth requires the unrestricted use of one's mind--the moral freedom to question, to examine evidence, to consider opposing viewpoints, to criticize, to accept as true only that which can be demonstrated--regardless whether one's conclusions conform to a particular creed.” 8 likes
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