Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Atheist Books Part 1
Hey there, I'm gonna quickly go through the first 4 atheist books I read in my life. This is basically all of them up till this year, lol.
The Atheist's Way was an okay read. It basically focuses on making meaning out of life. Not that we find meaning in what happens to us or what we do, but how to make meaning out of the everyday shit we go through. It actually was an okay read, but unique, not for everyone. It resembled a self-help book in a lot of ways, but I have to say I enjoyed it because it really did help me to change my outlook on the world and to find atheism not so scary.
I discovered this eye-catching book on my mission but bought it afterwords. Written by A.C. Grayling, he is a great writer. Essentially a collection of short essays on morals and ethics, he made some good points. What this book brought to me was my already accruing realization that religious morals, the one's I liked, did not need God in the equation. Example - the word of wisdom was to be followed for the health benefits it gave you, such as not doing harmful drugs because they fry your brain. Well, God isn't needed in this line on thought, the consequences themselves serve to give reason to my ethics. This book does that for a lot of different things and I really enjoyed it. Probably one of my top 10 atheist books. This would be good for anyone who identifies themselves more with secularism and humanism rather than atheism.
Irreligion was a fun read. Written by a mathematician, he goes into mathematical ways on why 'God' doesn't line up. He easily discounts some of the same one's I had, such as probability arguments. See, some people say, "well, how do you think we could be here, like this, on this world, if there wasn't a god?" I had always thought, "well, even if we evolved we would've been here in some form or another." But of course he answers it so much more nicely.
I do wish to clarify, in case a reader doesn't understand. There could have been 10 to the 100th power ways of how we could have evolved. Probably far more. But we were always going to evolve. And to be here means that we went from one point to the next, ending up as human beings. I am pretty sure he uses the example of a card deck. You shuffle it, and then record how the cards came out. Now, with 52 cards there are millions, maybe more, of ways this could have came out. The probability of it coming out the way it did, this one time, is astronomically low, 1 in possible billions. But you don't sit there and exclaim, "wow, a designer must have done this for it to come out this way out of so many possible ways." See my point? I liked the book, but I need to go back and read it. I recommend it to anyone interested.
Harrison's book was a gem for me to find when I did. By this point I was floaty and agnostic and all that, and really searching for my path. The reason why I include this post on my 'why I am an atheist' list is because this book is what put me over the edge.
For a year I had been keeping a journal on my computer. When my old comp crashed I lost it, but the file had mainly been about my atheistic thoughts. I went through why I believed and tore down the reasons, attacked faith, tried to find faith through new arguments for God, and kept going back and forth, feeling that I was making myself into an atheist. My ideas were jumbled, but put together, not too deep, but thought out. In the end they were not concise though and I couldn't argue them to well with others without taking much time or having holes.
Harrison's book was basically me if I had spent another 10 years on those arguments. He goes through 50 reasons of why the average person on the street will give reasons for believing in their own specific and personal god. Some reasons are specific to Christianity, but he has talked to Muslims, Hindus, and tons of other people around the world. I had feared it would be shallow, but once I started reading I couldn't stop. The book was exactly what I needed. There are no good reasons for believing in gods, and he says it nicely.
Harrison is a peaceful man, and his book shows that. He tries to be considerate, definitely not a new atheist, but he also attempts to show people that their reasons are full of poor reasoning. If you have doubts, read this, if you believe but like thought experiments, read this, if you are an atheist, read this for the nice ammunition it supplies. One of my top 5 atheist books. I highly recommend.
This book is another reason of why I am an atheist.