Philosophers without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

Atheists are frequently demonized as arrogant intellectuals, antagonistic to religion, devoid of moral sentiments, advocates of an "anything goes" lifestyle. Now, in this revealing volume, nineteen leading philosophers open a window on the inner life of atheism, shattering these common stereotypes as they reveal how they came to turn away from religious belief.
These highly engaging personal essays capture the marvelous diversity to be found among atheists, providing a portrait...
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Philosophers without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life

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Overview

Atheists are frequently demonized as arrogant intellectuals, antagonistic to religion, devoid of moral sentiments, advocates of an "anything goes" lifestyle. Now, in this revealing volume, nineteen leading philosophers open a window on the inner life of atheism, shattering these common stereotypes as they reveal how they came to turn away from religious belief.
These highly engaging personal essays capture the marvelous diversity to be found among atheists, providing a portrait that will surprise most readers. Many of the authors, for example, express great affection for particular religious traditions, even as they explain why they cannot, in good conscience, embrace them. None of the contributors dismiss religious belief as stupid or primitive, and several even express regret that they cannot, or can no longer, believe. Perhaps more important, in these reflective pieces, they offer fresh insight into some of the oldest and most difficult problems facing the human mind and spirit. For instance, if God is dead, is everything permitted? Philosophers Without Gods demonstrates convincingly, with arguments that date back to Plato, that morality is independent of the existence of God. Indeed, every writer in this volume adamantly affirms the objectivity of right and wrong. Moreover, they contend that secular life can provide rewards as great and as rich as religious life. A naturalistic understanding of the human condition presents a set of challenges--to pursue our goals without illusions, to act morally without hope of reward--challenges that can impart a lasting value to finite and fragile human lives.
Collectively, these essays highlight the richness of atheistic belief--not only as a valid alternative to religion, but as a profoundly fulfilling and moral way of life.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'This Atheists R Us compilation differs markedly in tone from Hitchens and Dawkins. Excellent fare for Christian small groups whose members are genuinely interested in the arguments raised by atheists.' --Christianity Today

'Rather than the foolishness of Dawkins or Hitchens, these [essays] are compelling and sophisticated arguments that religious people ought to confront....' --Tikkun

'The authors answer, forecefully and intelligently, the standard arguments against atheism.' --V.V. Raman, CHOICE

'This collection strikes me as an excellent example of how comprehensible philosophical writing can be at its best. By and large, the essays are written in a clear and direct style, free of philosophical jargon. Many who read it will find themselves also engaged at a level that is not merely academic.'--George I. Mavrodes, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

'Taken as a group, these readable, personal, and provocative essays make it clear that there are many kinds of non-believers, and even many different elements that make up a single skeptical outlook. Contrary to the popular image, atheism isn't all rebellious trumpets and defiant drums. That part of the orchestra is essential, but here we have all the varieties of unreligious experience, a full symphony of unbelief.' --Free Inquiry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199839780
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/27/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,284,865
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Louise M. Antony is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
Acknowledgments     xv
Journeys
Faith and Reason, the Perpetual War: Ruminations of a Fool   Stewart Shapiro     3
From Yeshiva Bochur to Secular Humanist   Joseph Levine     17
Religio Philosophi   Daniel Garber     32
For the Love of Reason   Louise M. Antony     41
Life without God: Some Personal Costs   Daniel M. Farrell     59
Overcoming Christianity   Walter Sinnott-Armstrong     69
On Becoming a Heretic   Edwin Curley     80
Mere Stranger   Marvin Belzer     90
An Atheist's Fundamentalism   James Tappenden     104
Thank Goodness!   Daniel C. Dennett     113
Reflections
Transcendence without God: On Atheism and Invisibility   Anthony Simon Laden     121
An Aristotelian Life   Marcia Homiak     133
Without the Net of Providence: Atheism and the Human Adventure   Kenneth A. Taylor     150
Disenchantment   David Owens     165
Religion and Respect   Simon Blackburn     179
Reasonable Religious Disagreements   Richard Feldman     194
If God Is Dead, Is Everything Permitted?   Elizabeth Secord Anderson     215
Divine Evil   David Lewis     231
Meta-atheism: Religious Avowal as Self-Deception   Georges Rey     243
Faith and Fanaticism   Jonathan E. Adler     266
Notes     287
References     299
Notes on Contributors     303
Index     307
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