Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Very Short Introductions

By (author) Julian Baggini

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 136 pages
  • Dimensions: 111mm x 174mm x 9mm | 115g
  • Publication date: 28 August 2003
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0192804243
  • ISBN 13: 9780192804242
  • Illustrations note: numerous halftones
  • Sales rank: 79,751

Product description

Atheism is often considered to be a negative, dark, and pessimistic belief which is characterized by a rejection of values and purpose and a fierce opposition to religion. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral. It also confronts the failure of officially atheist states in the Twentieth Century. The book presents an intellectual case for atheism that rests as much upon positive arguments for its truth as on negative arguments against religion. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Author information

Julian Baggini is editor and co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. He is the author of several books on philosophy including Making Sense: Philosophy Behind the Headlines and New British Philosophy: The Interviews (with Jeremy Stangroom). He has also written for newspapers, magazines and academic journals.

Review quote

lively and readable...ideal for a popular audience...his very short introduction, which packs into a hundred pages a wealth of insight and argument, is itself a wonderful commitment to the rational thought which he defends Richard Norman, New Humanist

Editorial reviews

This addition to the Oxford University Press 'Very Short Introductions' series - a sparkling run of (almost) pocket-sized books presenting helpful entrees to over 100 subjects - sees Julian Baggini lay out the flesh and bones of atheism with astonishing clarity. In a brief space, Baggini, a veteran philosophic author and editor who has already written several solid books including Making Sense - Philosophy Behind The Headlines, describes a pet subject with intelligence and sympathy. Atheism, he points out, is not the militant anti-God stance it may perhaps seem, but a rationally described worldview that has arrived at its own set of conclusions in the same way as any other thought system. Typically practical in thought and language, Baggini's introduction to the subject is impressive not only for its scope but for its empathy: he points out the humanity of the position in gentle stages, travelling far away from his starting point of atheism as a mythic 'dark alternative' to Christianity or polytheism, without rancour or bombast. Its humanistic dignity becomes gradually clear as the book unravels with a beguiling technical perfection: the text moves us quickly through a dismantling of misconceived ideas about the subject to an easily understood potted primer on its more sophisticated 'real' forms, and culminates in a sympathetic display of the application of considerate atheism (interchangeable in Baggini's mind with humanism) to the business of being alive. In such a constricted space this is not far short of a miracle. Baggini's philosophical tools are clearly well sharpened through constant use and the language of rational argument flows naturally through this introduction to a sometimes difficult and controversial subject. If anyone can persuade you that atheism is not the delinquent child of Western belief systems, this man can. (Kirkus UK)

Table of contents

1. What is atheism ; 2. The case for atheism ; 3. Atheist ethics ; 4. Purpose ; 5. History ; 6. Against Religion ; 7. Conclusion ; Further Reading