Synopses & Reviews
Is it possible for the nonbeliever to lead a happy and meaningful life?
This is one question George H. Smith, defender of reason and personal liberty and author of an influential contemporary classic on nonbelief, seeks to answer in Why Atheism? Smith reviews the historical roots of nonbelief going back to the ancient Greeks, argues that philosophy can serve as an important alternative to religion, and defends reason as the most reliable method humans have for establishing truth and conducting one's life.
Why Atheism? tackles a wide range of subjects, some of which have never been thoroughly analyzed from an atheistic point of view. Beginning with the problem of atheism's credibility, Smith points out the various ways in which religious opponents have sought to exclude atheism from serious consideration. He also analyzes a number of classical philosophical issues, such as the nature of knowledge and belief, concluding that modern atheism is largely an unintended consequence of the religious diversity brought about by the Protestant Reformation.
Two chapters are devoted to ethics, one focusing on the ethics of belief with particular attention given to the views of Thomas Aquinas and John Locke. Other chapters discuss the persecution of religious dissenters and the features of an ethical system without belief in God. Smith's characteristic lucidity, analytical rigor, and wit make Why Atheism? an accessible and enjoyable guide to living a positive life without belief in a supreme being.
Written by a defender of reason and personal liberty, this book reviews the historical roots of nonbelief and defends reason as the most reliable method humans have for establishing truth and conducting one's life.
An accessible guide to living a positive life without a supreme being, this book stresses the positive dimensions of atheism. Smith discusses agnosticism, skepticism, secular humanism and the burden of proof; the nature of religious experience; problems in proofs of God's existence; the ethics of Jesus; sex and guilt; Christian values in American society; religion and culture; the lure of afterlife; concepts of heaven and hell; original sin; fearing death; hedonism and stoicism; the pursuit of happiness; and much more.
About the Author
George H. Smith is the author of the world's most popular book on nonbelief,Atheism: The Case Against God, and Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies.