Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Atheist Books Part 2
I wish to take one more break from my 9-Page Reply posts. I'm guessing I'll be making three more reply posts, one being focused entirely on my credo, which actually does deserve some criticism. I'm honestly having fun replying, but I wish to continue some of my older posts. I debated on doing my second podcast review, but I'll wait on that for another week so I can decide if I like one of the podcasts I started last week.
At BYU today we had Elder ... hmm, one of the apostles, I've already forgotten, come speak at devotional. I had a smug smile knowing that nearly everyone was there while I was at work. It was nice, and I celebrated by listening to an atheist podcast while the devotional was happening.
I'll continue my atheistic books I've been reading, now into last winters books. On to more books:
Aronson is from Michigan, where I am from for anyone who doesn't know. Boy, that narrows me down for the BYU secret police! Considering my positive Mormonism post though I think I deserve to be let off for all the horribly true things I've said against Mormonism though. But I digress.
This book started off slow. Aronson comes off as some old guy, with some good thoughts, some well-deserved wisdom from life, but no real philosophical training. Anyways, that's how I felt. The first half drudged along, but the second half really inspired me. I need to reread it since I read this one last winter. The black and gold cover is very nice, the second half of the book had some good ethical ideas that made me think. Like I said though, I need to reread some of those later chapters. But I recommend this to anyone who wishes to read a more positive and 'fair' atheism, definitely not a new atheist-type book.
This little book is a gem. If you don't know anything about Ingersoll but think secularism is good ... then at least get this little book. I don't know if he was full of cliche sayings with a twist, or if he coined a lot of these, but he uses so many phrases and sayings that I've heard that I wonder if he legitimately came up with a lot of these. I won't spend the next 30 minutes trying to scrounge up some of them though, you'll just have to check it out.
I can't say I know a lot about him, but I grew to appreciate him after this little book. I really enjoyed how he was so open about his agnosticism, his disdain for religion, and being a moral upright person just to piss off up-tight religious folks.
The first of the four horsemen for me to read. I actually love this book. Sure, Hitchens is an angry bastard, but he brings up so many good things in this book about how religion 'does' poison everything. The title can be misleading, it says God is not great, but the book mainly gives reasons for why religion is not great. This is true. This book did little for me to think that there isn't a god but it did help me to become more of an anti-theist.
Hitchens colorfully goes through the darker side of religion, women circumcision, baby boy circumcision and horrors from that, religious involvement in wars, in particular world war two, how religion affects our worldview and therefore how it poisons everything, and many more things. He brought up things I had heard about or studied in my youth, and then completely new things. He even lent some objective views by offering both sides to some things, such as Catholics involved in the pogrom of the Jews but then Catholics who were heroes and saved Jews.
The book was a very good read, certainly the best book so far this year that I've read, the top out of 34 so far. And in the top 5 for the 3 years of reading, which includes that second half of my mission. Funny story - I was introduced to this book by a class at BYU. It was a Psychology of Religion class where we did not talk about the psychology of religion, but rather the debate between naturalism and supernaturalism and if naturalism should even be trying to study religion. I hated the class after a while. Especially when we took Freud as the example atheist in all his weirdness and depression. We read excerpts from many books, including Hitchen's. Of course the chapter we read was only his introduction, which tells his funny story about his religious schoolboy years, briefly, and that's about it. No meat, none of his arguments, just an introduction. But it was enough for me to be interested in the book.
The title is not reason alone to buy this book, it's a bestseller because, in my opinion, it really is a good book, and dishes out some well-deserved criticism against religion and theology as a whole. This is my big recommendation for this post. Next time I will return to the 'reply.'