Adventures in Reading


Revisted Reviews: Atheism by Julian Baggini

I finished Atheism: A Very Short Introduction by Julian Baggini. For the most part, it reassured my beliefs and choices as well as answered some of the questions I was seeking. Largely, does atheism only exist as a critique against other religions (which it seems to be in many discussions) and atheism as a belief system itself. It lightly delved into quite a few philosophical arguments for atheism and responses to arguments against atheism.

Of course, Baggini did dwell on the relationship of atheism and religion and did spend some time refuting religious beliefs and reasons to believe in religion in the sense that there are practical and factual reasons. That is, Baggini doesn’t so much as negate religion as much as realistic belief in it and the requirement of blind faith to accept it.

I think what I enjoyed most is Baggini’s look that atheism is neither a positive nor a negative outlook on life. Rather, it’s a realistic and naturalistic approach to life and that atheists can define and find their own good and bad. Too often atheism is confused with nihilism. Additionally, the book helped me to distinguish the lines between atheism and existentialism more so than I previously had.

Interestingly enough, the book included a quote from my favorite – Terry Pratchett, “I think I’m probably an atheist, but rather angry at god for not existing.” When I shared this with my partner he didn’t get it at first, but everyone reaches for belief differently and Pratchett succinctly describes my somewhat rocky journey in wanting to believe in something only to realize that what I wanted wasn’t some supernatural entity. I’ve also slowly been becoming more and more aware of the religious privilege around me.

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3 Comments

“Too often atheism is confused with nihilism.” I agree – much too often.

This sounds like a very interesting book. And speaking of Terry Pratchett and atheism, have you read this? Despite the completely and absurdly misleading title, it’s a lovely article.

Comment by Nymeth

Nymeth: This was definitely an interesting read and one of the few books I’ve been able to locate in the atheist or agnostic section of bookstores that even attempts a basic explanation let alone trying to avoid direct and aggressive attacks on religious belief.

This is a fabulous article and I thank you for it. I heard that after Pratchett’s disease was diagnosed that he had “found god,” which I thought was interesting but never read much more about it. But this is an excellent article and Pratchett, as always, is beautifully eloquent.

Comment by bookchronicle

Hadn’t heard about Prachett. Which God did he find? I for one a hoping for a humorous one- go down fighting! The force or the GEoM would be perfect.

Comment by Samuel Skinner




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