I Don't Believe in Atheists

I Don't Believe in Atheists

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
15
Rate this:
Publisher: New York : Free Press, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9781416567950
Branch Call Number: 211 HED
Characteristics: vii, 212 pages ; 19 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

n
naturalist
Feb 09, 2017

“Chris Hedges wastes everyone’s time”
by PZ Myers, posted March 13, 2008, at Pharyngula, Science Blogs

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/13/chris-hedges-wastes-everyones/

LRS1969 Nov 16, 2015

On the negative side, Hedges is a Christian. On the positive side, he is an extremely liberal Christian (regardless of some interpretations listed).

And he has a serious point here.

Some of the most aggressive religious / spiritual conversation that I have seen (as represented here) has been generated by atheists! Pretty much makes the point for him.

Also, Mr. Hedges became an ordained Presbyterian minister in February of 2013. And has been a Presbyterian for at least the last 30 years (as an absolute minimum).

d
DonHBloomer
Apr 07, 2015

Chris Hedges does not worry much about logic. He can pull "facts" out of thin air. You will find his words are without much supporting evidence.

redban Mar 31, 2015

Please note that Chris Hedges also scorns institutional religion as an archaic power structure (read "American Fascists"). He astutely points out that the priority should be on utopian fundamentalism, financial imperialism and environmental degradation.

This book was retitled as "When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists". Another good title would be "I Don't Believe in the New Atheists". This book is a rebuttal to some of the fundamentalism displayed by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, etc. Hedges is a war correspondent, he is well-versed in darkness that envelopes humans, unlike many of the academics who look over the world in their ivory towers. While I have read and appreciate much of the works of the New Atheists, they have moments of fundamentalism and rigid, simplistic extremism that is inexcusable.

What both sides are missing is more insight into financial hegemony and imperialism. To focus the debate on religion is just like being stuck in the political theater. Hedges seems more aware of this, and his analysis of religion is more nuanced.

u
uzebdrumz
Oct 10, 2012

I must preface this comment by stating that I admire Hedges as a journalist and social activist.

Mr. Hedges argues that fundamentalism itself is dangerous. He argues that both religious fundamentalists and new atheists are guilty of the same utopian fantasies and that we are not progressing morally as a species. His argument fails because the conclusions do not necessarily follow from the premises and the premises are false.

His argument is the repetitive idea that science is a cult and atheists are utopian. He berates scientific enquiry and atheists with broad generalizations and false characterizations. For example, he states, "The new atheists, like all fundamentalists, flee from complexity..." and "The new atheists, angry and polemical, adopt the rhetorical style of the bigots they attack." Hedges has cast a wide net that throws Dan Dennett in the same category as Jimmy Swaggart.

It's unfortunate the book is plagued by such misinformation and cynicism, because Hedges does make some good points regarding the destruction of democracy through the militarized corporate state. His rhetoric, however, is defeated by centuries of progress since the invention of the plough (to pick an arbitrary point in history), and more importantly, that morally we are evolving. He fails to acknowledge atheists would be the first to admit that 6.5 billion people offer a multitude of reasons for a constant state of war - not a utopian dream. Do health care and charity even exist in Hedges' world (maybe not, in America)?

I started skim-reading when I read this passage on page 56, "The extinction of our species, though tragic, would not mean the extinction of life. The human race is not at the center of creation." Thank you Chris for stating the blatantly obvious - now what?

Hedges, it seems, is a christian-educated agnostic with a very cynical and negative world view. He shares many of the same ideas that atheists assert but clings to the belief that the unknown must be explained by something, yet rather than acknowledge that rational enquiry continues to provide reasonable explanations for an ever increasing range of topics, he still believes that sin, god, and biblical wisdom have a place in our discourse.

"I don't believe in atheists" is simply an exercise in defining atheists according to Hedges; the arguments are weak and general without much supporting evidence. Read the back cover and you'll have the entire argument in a nutshell or read the book and read the same argument over and over and over again on every page. It's up to you.

j
jmikesmith
Jun 26, 2012

The message of this relatively short book (just under 190 pages) is that humanity and individual humans are imperfect and morally corrupted (this is in fact the point of Original Sin stories). Attempts by religious fundamentalists and atheist fundamentalists to build perfect societies based on either religious teachings or science and reason are doomed to fail because of man's imperfection and fallibility. Although we attempt to impose some sort of order and meaning on our lives by creating myths and stories about historical progress from worse to better, life really is, at heart, random and meaningless. The best we can do is try to curb our baser instincts through practicing compassion and mindfulness, and it doesn't seem to matter much whether we base those practices on moderate religion or secular humanism.

The message is very clear and stated often. This book could have been shorter, even essay-length, and got its point across. The author writes well (he's a journalist), but I found him very strident and contemptuous of both kinds of fundamentalists. He could stand to practice a little more of the compassion that he recommends.

Kittykatkins Jan 19, 2012

Fascinating and enlightening, this book has things in it that are bound to tick off both believer and unbeliever alike. By the same token, it is also a must-read, as it speaks deeply to the present-day predicament in which humanity finds itself. A somewhat difficult read, but well worth it for the many valuable insights to be gained into the human condition.

c
colincolin
Dec 30, 2011

8

d
dlmottershead
Dec 27, 2011

Wonderful.

d
drewavis
Nov 01, 2011

Terrible book, don't waste your time.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at HPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top