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50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God

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Many books that challenge religious belief from a skeptical point of view take a combative tone that is almost guaranteed to alienate believers or they present complex philosophical or scientific arguments that fail to reach the average reader. This is undoubtably an ineffective way of encouraging people to develop critical thinking about religion.

This unique approach to skepticism presents fifty commonly heard reasons people often give for believing in a God and then raises ...

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Many books that challenge religious belief from a skeptical point of view take a combative tone that is almost guaranteed to alienate believers or they present complex philosophical or scientific arguments that fail to reach the average reader. This is undoubtably an ineffective way of encouraging people to develop critical thinking about religion.

This unique approach to skepticism presents fifty commonly heard reasons people often give for believing in a God and then raises legitimate questions regarding these reasons, showing in each case that there is much room for doubt. Whether you're a believer, a complete skeptic, or somewhere in between, you'll find this review of traditional and more recent arguments for the existence of God refreshing, approachable, and enlightening.

From religion as the foundation of morality to the authority of sacred books, the compelling religious testimony of influential people, near-death experiences, arguments from Intelligent Design, and much more, Harrison respectfully describes each rationale for belief and then politely shows the deficiencies that any good skeptic would point out.

As a journalist who has traveled widely and interviewed many highly accomplished people, quite a number of whom are believers, the author appreciates the variety of belief and the ways in which people seek to make religion compatible with scientific thought. Nonetheless, he shows that, despite the prevalence of belief in God or religious belief in intelligent people, in the end there are no unassailable reasons for believing in a God.

For skeptics looking for appealing ways to approach their believing friends or believers who are not afraid to consider a skeptical challenge, this book makes for very stimulating reading.  

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but now Guy Harrison has given us 50 ways to believe in God, or not if you care to read this engaging and enlightening book in light of what it says about the cultural and psychological power of belief. If the number one predictor of which God someone believes in is what culture and time period they happened to have been born in, what does that say about the actual existence (or not) of a deity? Read this book to explore the many and diverse reasons for belief."
--Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of Why Darwin Matters

“There's an excellent American publishing house, Prometheus Books, which specializes in agnostic and atheist subjects. I've just finished reading Fifty Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, by Guy P. Harrison. In this thought-provoking book, Harrison makes a powerful case against religion without the need for name-calling, contempt or condescension.

-The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland 

“Harrison has hit the right mix.  He does not coddle or kowtow to believers, but he has a pleasant way of writing.  One can almost imagine that he is smiling as he writes—not a sardonic smile but a real, life-affirming, comfortable-with-who-I-am smile.  His joyful embrace of the natural world and humanity in all its triumphs along with low points and his admission that he does not understand everything he encounters makes this author’s atheism a very happy state of being.”

-Free Inquiry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591025672
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Pages: 330
  • Sales rank: 675,284
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

GUY P. HARRISON (San Diego, CA) is an award-winning journalist and the author of Think50 Simple Questions for Every Christian50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, and Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity. Find him on online at,, and on Twitter @Harrisonauthor.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     7
Introduction     13
My god is obvious     17
Almost everybody on Earth is religious     23
Faith is a good thing     27
Archaeological discoveries prove that my god exists     37
Only my god can make me feel significant     45
Atheism is just another religion     49
Evolution is bad     57
Our world is too beautiful to be an accident     65
My god created the universe     71
Believing in my god makes me happy     77
Better safe than sorry     85
A sacred book proves my god is real     91
Divine justice proves my god is real     101
My god answers prayers     107
I would rather worship my god than the devil     117
My god heals sick people     123
Anything is better than being an atheist     131
My god made the human body     139
My god sacrificed his only son for me     147
Atheists are jerks who think they know everything     153
I don't lose anything by believing in my god     161
I didn't come from a monkey     169
I don't want to go to hell     175
I feel my god when Ipray     179
I need my god to protect me     183
I want eternal life     191
Without my god we would have no sense of right and wrong     197
My god makes me feel like I am part of something bigger than myself     207
My religion makes more sense than all the others     213
My god changes lives     221
Intelligent design proves my god is real     225
Millions of people can't be wrong about my religion     231
Miracles prove my god is real     235
Religion is beautiful     241
Some very smart people believe in my god     247
Ancient prophecies prove my god exists     251
No one has ever disproved the existence of my god     263
People have gone to heaven and returned     267
Religion brings people together     273
My god inspires people     281
Science can't explain everything     287
Society would fall apart without religion     295
My religion is so old, it must be true     303
Someone I trust told me that my god is real     309
Atheism is a negative and empty philosophy     315
Believing in a god doesn't hurt anyone     325
The earth is perfectly tuned to support life     331
Believing is natural so my god must be real     337
The end is near     343
I am afraid of not believing     349
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    A reviewer

    Guy Harrison has written a good book for the non-technically oriented person interested in the God hypothesis. It's to this audience I rate it with 5 stars. If you are an average person who has trouble with deep philosophical and scientific arguments this book is a good place to start thinking critically about your faith. Harrison does a wonderful job of articulating why it makes little sense to believe in the face of 50 of the real reasons why the average person in the pew believes. There are many gems of wisdom in this book as Harrison offers up intelligent answers that everyone can understand against the claims of believers. --- John W. Loftus, author of 'Why I Became an Atheist.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2009

    Wonderful book!

    Easy and thought provoking read, went through it in a day!

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book

    Guy Harrison gives us fifty common reasons that people give for believing in a god. Then he raises questions regarding these reasons in his attempt to convince believers that they are wrong.

    I do like the book. I enjoyed it immensely. As a believer, I also like to engage in critical thinking. And while I have heard of the arguments presented in this book, I appreciated the tone and general lack of bile that is often present in the modern day atheist tomes. For reference see, delusion and god is not great.

    In addition, I generally agree with Harrison's questioning the authority of sacred books. Anyone would questions the validity of most of these writing if they would only take an open-minded approach.

    However, I must be critical of this book also in that it was far too redundant. That is, it continually used the same arguments over and over. I understand that the arguments and questions fit the topic but I would have edited the book in a way to minimize the overuse of the same questions.

    In addition, I would have suggested that the list be pared down to maybe 10 or 15 reasons rather than the 50. Again, it gets a little redundant. If fact, the first half of the book was a delight to read. The second half begin to become more like work as I skipped repeated questions and phrases. I would have preferred for the author to go deeper into the subject matter. Trying to cover 50 reasons in one book results in a top- of-the-wave approach.

    Harrison has provided us with an optimistic view of life in this universe. While I do not advocate the abolition of religion (well, maybe organized religion) it would be wonderful to have the major religions to read and fully understand this book. Maybe then we could escape the hostilities, bigotry , and abhorrence caused by conflicting doctrines. As this book is one of many that has convinced me that religion is not a basis for morality I can heartily recommend it.

    I hope you find this review helpful.

    Michael L. Gooch - Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today's Business Leaders.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

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