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Atheism: The Case against God

Atheism: The Case against God

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by George H. Smith

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"Does a god exist? This question has undoubtedly been asked, in one form or another, since man has had the ability to communicate. . . Thousands of volumes have been written on the subject of a god, and the vast majority have answered the questions with a resounding 'Yes!' "

"You are about to read a minority viewpoint."

With this intriguing introduction, George H.


"Does a god exist? This question has undoubtedly been asked, in one form or another, since man has had the ability to communicate. . . Thousands of volumes have been written on the subject of a god, and the vast majority have answered the questions with a resounding 'Yes!' "

"You are about to read a minority viewpoint."

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 theologians, as well as the average religious layman. He explores the historical and psychological havoc wrought by religion in general - and concludes that religious belief cannot have any place in the life of modern, rational man.

"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."

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A hard hitting attack against belief in the Christian God as well as all other supernatural beings....  This book might well be used in a beginning course in the philosophy of religion as a fair representation of contemporary atheistic thought. Students would...find it more provocative and challenging than some other treatment that may be technically more sophisticated. The author's direct and forceful way of making his points has great appeal; clearly, it is a book written with deep intellectual passion.... All in all, Smith's book provides a lively introduction to atheism."

--Teaching Philosophy

"Welcome, hard-hitting." --Publishers Weekly (reviewing the first edition of Atheism: The Case Against God)

"...prose is clear, straightforward, and relatively easy to follow--no small achievement when wading through centuries of epistemology and metaphysics."

--Journal of Church and State (reviewing Why Atheism?)

"George H. Smith is an independent scholar who for many decades has lectured and written about the history of classical liberal and libertarian ideas. The System of Liberty is his first extended take on this history to be published by a high-level academic press--a tribute both to Smith's dogged scholarship and to the rise in the respectability of the libertarian tradition he explains and espouses....the information and analysis are always interesting."

--Brian Doherty, Reason magazine (reviewing The System of Liberty)

"George Smith's lectures on classical liberalism had a profound effect on my thinking. Now, at long last, others may profit from his prodigious learning in this absolutely 'must read' book for anyone interested in modern libertarianism and its historical roots. Clear, accessible, balanced, and powerfully reasoned."

--Randy E. Barnett, author of The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law (reviewing The System of Liberty)

"This is a lucid, concise, but at the same time a deep overview of the origins and structure of classical liberal thought. With a fluid and engaging style, Smith corrects many of our modern misconceptions about how early liberals understood themselves and the terms on which they debated. Anyone interested in liberal thought, whether in its 'classical', modern 'high liberal', or libertarian forms, will find this a valuable resource. Even critics of classical liberalism will find, thanks to Smith, that classical liberal thought contains a great deal of forgotten wisdom."

--Jason Brennan, author of Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know (reviewing The System of Liberty)

Product Details

Prometheus Books
Publication date:
Skeptic's Bookshelf Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet 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.

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Atheism: The Case against God 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always felt strange about theism. Something has not been right about it. With this fascinating book, I´m finally coming to my senses. I work in health-care and I have always asked myself how does god allow so much suffering and pain?. The answer is quite simple: suffering exists and if god doesn´t know about it, he cannot be omniscient. If god knows about suffering but is not able to make changes, he cannot be omnipotent. And if god is well aware of the suffering and choses not to intervene, than he cannot be omnibenevolent. If the above characteristics of god are true, he cannot be a god (nor a superhuman being), and therefore it is logical to infere that such a being cannot exist! In any case, I don´t want to beleive in a supreme being that allows so much suffering and evil in the world. Until proven otherwise, I´ll remain being a non believer!
Richard Silverthorn More than 1 year ago
This book is a decent introduction to atheistic arguments. Not too complex for the layperson and very concise. If you are considering atheism or just want to know more about it, this is a great place to start.
random_skeptic More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the finest defenses of Atheism and crtiques of theism I have ever read. Mr. Smith covers territory ranging from the problems of defintions in relation to the concept of God to the realm of Meta Ethics. He truly demonstrates, with logic and evidence, the irrationality of believing in God and/or the supernatural. He examines many of the arguments Theists and Theologians make in defense of God and deconstructs them masterfully. He also makes the case for a happy and fulfilling life without recourse to the supernatural.
Amovitas More than 1 year ago
On a plane flight back from out west, the gentleman next to me revealed that he was a Professor at the Harvard School of Divinity, after having seen the above book on my lap. He remarked that he was well aware of the book and had reccomended it to many of his colleagues. He said, Smith offers one of the fairest analysis of the theist position that he has ever read. He noted that Smith points out current major problems with defining god as an issue of delimiting their god--boundaries theism is not willing to impose. If a professor of Theism has nothing but good things to say about the book--it is definitely a must read. I think Smith's Book is one of the best epistemological and logical dissections of theism that has ever been written.
Aelius More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, this book provides a good introduction to atheism and related philosophical issues. The hostile-sounding title might put some people off, but Smith makes it clear in the first section of his book that the primary focus of the book is whether or not theistic claims should be accepted as true. If one can show that theistic belief if flawed (the case against god), then one supports atheism. Smith then proceeds to do just that for the remainder of his book. He covers basic and important subjects such as god concepts, faith, morality, and common arguments for god. Smith argues that no rational person can accept theism as true and he discusses the philosophical problems of many theistic arguments. Smith writes in a non-technical style, and this may be why the book is popular. I think Smith's book could serve as a good starting point for approaching more thorough and technical books on atheism. Smith spends much of the book analyzing Christianity, and I would have preferred it if he spent more time looking at theism in general. Throughout the book, he describes major flaws in Christianity, and after awhile it appears as though he's just whipping a dead horse. Of course, it's a dead horse that many people insist on riding, so I suppose that critiquing it from several perspectives may help to convince some of the riders that they're not going anywhere on that beast. If you are a philosophical layperson who wants to learn more about atheism, then this is the book you should read. Now, if I may digress, it appears that some of the reviews posted before mine do not really review the book at all. Instead, they provide theistic arguments that supposedly refute the arguments that Smith makes in his book. It is interesting to note that the theistic arguments offered below are actually covered in Smith's book, where he shows them to be flawed. It makes me wonder if some of those reviewers actually read or understood the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While looking for a book to buy I ran across this one. At first I was reluctant to purchase it because of the 9 people that gave it a one star. After looking into the written reviews from the one star reviewers, I discovered that they rated it so poorly because of their own personal beliefs. Their opinion did not have anything to do with the author's writing style or quality. "God is real" is not what I would consider a reliable book review; therefore, I bought the book and rate it a 5. Pathetic!
Miklos Hargitay More than 1 year ago
In short, this is what made me into an atheist
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a liberating book! Tired of being shackled to your preconceptions? Do you wish to de-programme the 'knowledge' that was force-fed to you at a time when you could not rationally and logically cooperate? This book is a great start! This book shows how the crutch of religion is not only harmful, but the source of mental pain and misery. The crutch of religion cannot be kicked away from the theist. First what needs to be demonstrated is that humans do not need this hindering and illogical crutch. This book does that and then some. Read and re-read (then re-read) this book. It'll pay you back in dividends.
dwellNC More than 1 year ago
A very well argued book that gives precise and clear definitions of the issues and positions in question. One issue in particular is the word atheism. Many theists  seem unable to accept that at a minimum atheism simply means the lack of belief in a god or gods. Although the author goes on to give  a more robust argument, stepping into the space of actually arguing against the existence of the Christian god, being an atheist does not mean  you are claiming there are no gods or god. It means you do not accept the god claims of theist. Despite this distinction between the different types  of atheism, many believers still cannot come to terms with these different positions. Whether one os a believer or non believer this book adds significantly to the discussion.  Theist should read this book to get a clear understanding of what atheism is.  Personally, I would like to see a book on atheist/ theist etiquette. For example, I would like to have a discussion on how to excuse myself from religious prayers and rituals at parties, dinners, and other events, without offending people. The few times I have attempted  it, people assumed I wanted to start an argument. It is clear that the number of atheist is rising quickly and sharply, but we still all have to live together, share this planet, craft intelligent policy, and enjoy a sensible society.  Anyway, great book!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Christianity isn't even a religion, it's like a cult. The kkk are christian, they dislike homosexuals, are EXTREMELY BIASED, and are at fault for murder. So I say fear god, christianity, and religion itself for they are part of the reason that there is so much violence and fear in this world. Hayden Lewis Vetter, age of 14, Fort Hood Tx.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A demonstration that belief in god is irrational and the havoc has been caused by religion.
AdamZ1 More than 1 year ago
I actually made this an employee recommendation when I used to work at Barnes & Noble. I returned to it recently when I was reading the novel "The Atheist's Church" by Prometheus, and I still think this book holds up, which is why I'm now recommending it online.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With a philosophical flair, Smith attacks Christianity in a thorough and effective manner
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Guest More than 1 year ago
George Smith unceremoniously goes about dissembling religion in this lucid, excellent book. He provides the proper definition for one who describes him/herself as an atheist (it means one has rejected theism) and dismantles each argument for a supernatural power. Highly recommended reading for anyone open-mined enough to consider the follies of organized religion. Dry reading at times, but more than made up for by his debate skills. Personally, I'll take this title over any of the more recent publications on atheism (The God Delusion, God is Not Great, Letter to a Christian Nation, etc.)