Monday, January 4, 2010

Atheism, Me, and a Book I want to read

I've never been able to make the intellectual/faith leap to confident atheism, and I know I've made posts here that are at least mildly critical of the most dogmatic among the so-called New Atheists.

But I also have no interest in arguing with the Atheists or trying to "prove them wrong." (If you don't know why, read this.)

Frankly, I don't believe in a god who says that anyone who doesn't believe in him/her/it is consigned to some kind of eternal torture and punishment. I do think the New Atheists are doing important work in forcing us to confront our religious assumptions, although I get frustrated when they fall back on the same kind of Biblical literalism as the Fundamentalists, and when they diss or dismiss liberal religion.

All that is by way of long-winded introduction to a link: An Atheist Defends Religion is a book I want to add to my ever-growing reading list...


I got to thinking about the prospect of a book by a theist or other religious person defending atheism.

Michael Dowd sort of fits, I guess, with the caveat that he considers himself neither theist nor atheist.

And here's a book that, while a rejoinder to Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation, in many ways sides with the new atheists' critique of fundamentalism.

As an aside: I read the above, A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists, sometime earlier this year or late last year. Came away from it basically liking its approach. But I'd forgotten the title when I was trying to prepare this update and did some fruitless searching on Google and Amazon until I finally located it, but not until I encountered a lot of tendentious works attempting to rebut Harris, Dawkins, et al. Reminded me of that video I linked to the other day.

1 comment:

  1. Hello:

    I am the author of "An Atheist Defends Religion," and the book is very much about finding a moderate middle path -- one that is kinder and gentler than the vociferous, viscious, and vindictive New Atheism.

    You can get a taste of my book through its companion web site ( and blog, Atheism 3.0 (

    I apologize that the two blog posts are rather long. They are more like op-ed pieces than stream-of-consciousness pieces. The first distinguishes between the New Atheism and new New Atheism (what one religious writer distinguished between Atheism 2.0 and Atheism 3.0). The second blog speaks about the issue of whether it is possible to be good without God (the answer: yes, but only under rarefied conditions).

    Thank you again for the acknowledgement. And I hope you get to read the book.

    Bruce Sheiman


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