Book reviews

Today, I want to share with you insights on the few books I have been reading in the past month  and to recommend that in case you haven’t read any of them, that you do create time to at least read a few of them if not all. Don’t create excuses for not reading, in a day you have 24 hours and in one of those you are probably bumming or in a train, tram or bus or waiting at the train station; that is the time to read, so no excuses. The books will follow no particular order. I ask you to forgive the brevity of my reviews, I am a minimalist in practice, and ask you to share your thoughts on any of the books that I have listed below if you have read them. I will populate the list as we go along. I have a goal of reading between 30-50 books in the remaining days to the end of the year and to keep this blog up to date.

 

1. Thinks by David Lodge

One of the reviewers, Sunday Times, writes ‘a fizzingly thought-provoking comedy’. If you want to have a good laugh and at the same time to be provoked into thinking this is the book for you. In one of the pages he quotes Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’ then goes ahead to say, ‘to am’ is to not think.

2. The Christ-Myth and its problems by Robert M. Price

In this book, the author looks at the New Testament scholarships on the subject of the historicity of Jesus. It’s a must read for both the believer and especially for the non-believer who still romanticizes about Jesus having been a great moral teacher [if he lived]. His arguments and conclusions are both powerful and convincing. I would want to see a christian who has any proper refutation to any of the claims in the book.

3. Philosophers without Gods by Antony Louis M

This book is a reflection by different philosophers on their journey to atheism, morality, and meaning in a life without Gods.

4. A history of God by Karen Armstrong

As the title suggests, Armstrong follows the evolution of the gods of the three Abrahamic [Christianity, Judaism and Islam] religions and how the faithful have interpreted or understood their god. Of importance is the contribution to philosophic thought to the changing face of god from the ancients to the present.

5. Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

is the journey of faith of a young man from Europe to Asia to the origins of Buddhism who ends up being an atheist. It is well written and engaging. He brings the story of the Buddha seamlessly into his story as he talks of his doubts, difficulties and insights into his journey of faith. He also brings the story of Buddha closer home and tries to remove much of the religious baggage associated with the Buddha.

6. Did Muhammad Exist: An inquiry into Islam’s obscure origins by Robert Spencer,

if after reading the Christ Myth Theory and its problems you find the ground swept under you, this will actually leave you floating in space. Even though the writer asks at the end that we suspend judgement on whether Muhammad existed, he presents evidence that supports the theory that he, Muhammad, is a myth just like any other in religions before him if we leave out Buddha and Confucius. One of the enduring chapters in on the Qur’an and he posits a question why does the writers of the book insist that it is in Arabic if it wasn’t contested? Islam hasn’t received a fair share of criticism as other religions since it’s adherents are too quick to declare fatwas, issue death threats to anyone who questions their religion but this book and many others offer a glimpse into the shaky grounds on which Islam is based.

7. Atheism: The case against God by George Smith

God is not on trial per-se but this book makes a proper case for atheism. There is no need to say more than that!

8. A guide for the godless by Andrew Kernohan,

is a personal journey into the meaning of life without a transcendent being.

 

 

 

 

 

Ways of Knowing

I thought you may need this.

Why Evolution Is True

UPDATE:  Eric has begun to respond to my comments in a preliminary post at Choice in Dying, and promises to provide a more thorough analysis later. He also called me “nephew”! I’m honored. But the example he uses is not a “fact” (the notion that WWII would have ended by Christmas of 1944 had Montgomery been allowed to be Supreme Commander in Europe rather than Eisenhower).  I’m not sure what this has to do with knowing anything true about the world, since it’s just a speculative scenario about what might have happened had things been different. There’s no way of knowing for sure.

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I have officially withdrawn the affectionate sobriquet of “Uncle” from Karl Giberson, since he’s been acting too religious lately, and bestowed it for the nonce on Eric MacDonald, who is also avuncular but never turns weird.

Eric has just finished a three-part series on…

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History of Gods

If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.

Baron D’Holbach, cited in Jonathan Miller. (2004). A Brief History of Disbelief [TV-Series].