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Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism [Paperback]

David Mills , Dorion Sagan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 4 2006

Atheist Universe details why God is unnecessary to explain the universe's diversity, organization and beauty. Using simple, straightforward logic, this book rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence.
A comprehensive primer for countering today's religious dogma, Atheist Universe addresses all the historical and scientific questions, including:

- What is atheism, and why is it so misunderstood?
- If God is a myth, then how did the universe appear?
- Without God, is there an objective "right" and "wrong"?
- What is the meaning of life without God?
- Is there evidence of Jesus' miracles and resurrection?
- Can atheists explain "near death" experiences and medical miracles?
- Can science and the Bible realistically be reconciled?
- What is the behind-the-scenes relationship between politics and religion?

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Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism + Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon + End Of Faith
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Man's Treasure Jan. 14 2006
Or should I say, "Another woman's treasure"?
I LOVED this book for precisely the same reason that the reviewer below did not -- because the book starts with the basics and provides the reader a comprehensive view of both science and theology. Perhaps the reviewer below has reached a state of omniscience, but for the rest of us mortals, I appreciated the author’s clear articulation of the issues without assuming that we were already experts in all branches of science. The whole purpose of the book can be summed up by saying that religion and science are NOT compatible, despite widespread beliefs and misinformed media stories to the contrary.
The book does indeed start at the beginning, but there is plenty of meat for any reader, regardless of his or her background. I have read perhaps a dozen books on the subject of atheism, and I personally prefer this title to any other. True, it is not so academic in tone as some other volumes, but, to me, this user-friendly style of communication is an asset rather than a liability. This book is a delight to read. I could not put it down. I especially liked the newly-added section rebutting "Intelligent Design."
Carolyn Wells
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Jan. 30 2006
By Dr Doom
Great Book. I disagree with the reviewer would claimed this book was too elementry for his liking; you should just read some insanely hard textbook. Mr. Mills essentially wrote this book as an accessible reference for atheism; not some lengthy Nitzche-like discussion. I knew some of the science information but he also brought up many points that I did not know or think of. I really enjoyed that each chapter was a work in itself; you can skip to something that sounds interesting and fill in the gaps later. The revised "Interview" chapter is very revealing and demonstrates, perhaps unknowingly, how to deal with basic asumptions a theist would test an atheist on.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It has all been said by other customer reviewers! July 19 2004
In a way, this review is superfluous because the other reviewers have really said it all. I merely want to add my voice to those who have written glowingly about this book. Mr. Mills has a fine talent as a clear and convincing author. I especially liked the scientific data included in the book in a manner that is very accessable to the layperson.
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13 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should have been titled "Atheism For Dummies" Nov. 23 2005
If you're a true-blue atheist, skip this book; there's nothing here you don't already know. If you're a bible-thumping American, you'll think the author is a spawn of the devil, so you'd better skip it too. Maybe - just maybe - if you're a fence-sitting Christian who doesn't read anything about science, or didn't finish high school, you'll learn something from this book. For me, page after page explaining 'evolution' or the 'big bang' made me feel like I was back in grade 9.
I was disappointed that most of the book is dedicated to refuting fundamentalist Christianity, which while a huge problem in the U.S. isn't really an issue in the rest of the civilized world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  277 reviews
670 of 713 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most convincing case for Atheism out there, a great read Sept. 9 2004
By eric_f - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came across "The Atheist Universe" completely by accident and it turned out to be one of the best books on the subject of Atheism I've ever read. What sets it apart from the others is the accessibility of David Mills' writing style. While other books such as George Smith's "Atheism: The Case Against God" are informative and thought-provoking, they aren't exactly too much fun to read, the tone often being dry and sterile. They come across more as a lecture rather than a discussion. But "The Atheist Universe" is a refreshing change. This is a book you can enjoy reading.

In a nutshell, David Mills sets out to challenge all the common arguments for the existence of God using methods pertaining to Atheism such as reason and logic. This book is a perfect tool to gain some "ammo" for any Atheist in a discussion with a Theist. While I've always thought that it's pointless to argue over an issue so complex as to God's existence or non-existence, it never hurts to have some convincing arguments under one's belt if they don't believe that God exists.

I would strongly recommend this book to any Atheist, skeptic, Agnostic, or even Theist who's open-minded enough to welcome a challenge to their beliefs. While I doubt it will convert any Theists to Atheism, it will at least help to hopefully break down some of the misconceptions about Atheism.
583 of 636 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Candy for the Non-Believer May 8 2005
By The Spinozanator - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is simply an excellent book for those who share its views; or for anyone who has doubts and wonders what the "infidels" are thinking. I don't think I noticed any negative reviews (I bought this book based on the reviews), but I really wouldn't expect any. Most people wouldn't be caught dead reading a book with the word "atheist" in the title. If any devout believer actually condescended to try it (like they were stranded on a desert island and there was nothing else to do), they would likely be quickly offended by the contents on any random page. I'll bet not 1 out of 100 devout believers would finish this book.

Among the author's offerings are: "Americans believe 58% to 40% that it is necessary to believe in God to be moral. By contrast, only 13% of Europeans agree with the US view...I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose (from Clarence Darrow)...I've always considered atheism to be a very positive philosophy in that, by eliminating a very burdensome obligation to appease a non-existent God, an individual thereby gains maximum freedom to choose his own goals and ideals for a satisfying life...(about public prayer in school) Let's remember that Jesus warned the Pharisees NOT to pray publicly because such prayers were usually pretentious, insincere efforts to showboat...My own observation is that those most terrified of death are not atheists, but believers, uncertain whether they are going to Heaven or Hell...Historically, whenever primitive man lacked scientific understanding of an observed event, he created a 'God of the Gaps' to fill the intellectual vacuum...The wider the gaps in scientific understanding, the greater the historic need for a miracle working 'GOTG'...As a general historic observation, each step forward taken by science has further distanced the hand of God from perceived intervention into natural events. As humanity's gaps of knowledge were slowly replaced by scientific understanding, a GOTG found fewer and fewer caverns of intellectual darkness in which to live...Believers create the illusion of answered prayer by systematically employing the fallacy known as 'Selective Observation,' a perceptual error also referred to as 'Counting the hits and ignoring the misses.'...The more tragic the event - and the higher the body count - the more inclined are the media to feature 'Miracle Survivors' on the six o'clock news...When, however, everyone dies in a catastrophe, such as a Jumbo Jet crash, the newspaper headline never reads 'Jehovah Out To Lunch During Doomed Flight.'...In plain English, we don't know why specific individuals live or die in disasters. We know that Christians are no more likely to survive than non-Christians; and the virtuous are just as likely to perish as thy corrupt...The Christian Church wholeheartedly believes this 'Divine' biblical prophecy, which announces that the vast majority of humanity will follow the wrong road in life and will, as a result end up in Hell instead of Heaven. God - in his infinite wisdom - would have known in advance that most of humanity would have fallen victim to the gruesome torture chamber...a truely benevolent and omnipotent God would let bygones be bygones and forgive 'sinners' even though they adopted mistaken religious beliefs...But, Christians respond, 'without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin. And God only asks that we accept the blood sacrifice that Jesus offered for us on the cross.' And who, may I ask, established this rule that 'without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin'? The answer, again, is God....The fact that God supposedly demands blood before He offers forgiveness is indicative of the bestial mindset of the primitive cultures extant when the Bible was written...The myth of Hell represents all the meanness, all the revenge, all the selfishness, all the cruelty, all the hatred, all the infamy of which the heart of man is capable...God was indeed created in man's own image...The two documents upon which our country was founded - ie, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States contain not a single word about Christianity, Christian principles, the Bible, or Jesus Christ...The Christian clergy of the Revolutionary period tried again and again to have references to Christianity inserted directly into the US Constitution, but they were refused every time by the Founders. Two 'Christian principles' may have indeed influenced the Founding Fathers. One was the Puritan practice of executing witches, the other was King George III's absolute mandate that his subjects worship in a manner approved by the Church of England...Witch burning and mandatory church affiliation are only 2 of many issues which led the Founding Fathers to establish a 'Wall of Separation between Church and State,' allowing, at each citizen's discretion, freedom of religion or freedom FROM religion...The National Motto was not changed to 'In God We Trust' until 1956. Likewise, the phrase 'under God' was not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954."

Please forgive all the quotes making this a long review, but there is so much here to agree with, it's hard to stop. This book gives you a 50 yard line ticket to a comprehensive discussion of belief vs non-belief, yet is fun to read. The chapter on Hell is great; the chapter on the origin of the universe and solar systems is among the best explanations I've ever read; the "Interview With an Atheist" chapter should become a classic; the quotes by famous men who are atheists are priceless; I LOVED the short chapter about the Founding Fathers, etc.

A very well deserved 5 stars for this book.
100 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review by R. Leland Waldrip Sept. 20 2005
By WASHline - Published on
The following review of Atheist Universe was written by R. Leland Waldrip and posted on the website of the Washington Area Secular Humanists:

The book lives up to Mills' promise in the introduction to challenge conventional wisdom and use extreme conciseness and clarity for his message. He describes his writing style as slow and deliberate, taking years to complete the book. He quotes Thomas Jefferson, who, in a letter to John Adams, wrote "I apologize to you for the lengthiness of this letter; but I had no time for shortening it."

With this book David Mills has delivered a coup d'etat to any thought of reconciling religion and science. Post-modernist apologies and attempts to bridge the gap between religion and science he gives no quarter. He very carefully and methodically attacks every religious argument outside the realm of human invention for the existence of a god. His favorite target is the irrationality of Christian belief and the Bible's contention of a young earth, Noah's flood, Genesis genealogies, etc. One rather interesting point he made in an almost casual manner was an observation that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke of the New Testament describe (contradictory) detailed male lineages of Jesus back to King David, and thereby create a trap for the writers of those books: the virgin birth would preclude any blood relationship through Joseph, so how could there be a lineage between Jesus and David? In debunking the prophesy of the Bible, Mills describes an absence of accuracy, noting that as far as accuracy is concerned, the Bible is a non-prophet organization.

He clarifies a number of scientific terms abused by religionists. For example, Physical Laws he defines as human descriptions of observed phenomena, rather than universal truths, and therefore subject to revision as new observations warrant. He tackles head-on the idea that the universe was created from nothing into something at the Big Bang. Rather, he offers proof through the Laws of Thermodynamics (conservation of mass/energy) that the universe was always here in one form or another. This argument had a particular resonance with me, as I have long had problems with the something from nothing idea of a single Big Bang jump-starting the universe.

Mills says he wrote this book for the forty percent of Americans "... open-minded readers who are not afraid to learn - in fact who are eager and fascinated to learn - about the many conflicts and controversies between science and the Christian Bible." My atheist and freethought friends will highly appreciate his hard-hitting candor and rock-solid enthusiasm for the scientific method, and will put this book at the very top of their arsenal of argument material for combat with religionists. Many of my theist friends who accidentally are exposed to it will probably have major heartburn and relegate it to the trash bin, if they dont outright burn it. But perhaps a few of them will be swayed by Mills flawless logic and lucidity of expression. I will cherish this book and keep it with my major reference works.
104 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars scientific approach to the question of god June 4 2007
By E. Cetin - Published on
At the beginning of the book Mr. Mills says he will try to write in the clearest, most easy to understand style possible. He is successful in that and this is one of the reasons why this might very well be the best book advocating atheism. There are some very good books about this subject but they tend to be confusing, with a dry, hard-to-read style. And some of the books which defend atheist position tend to be arrogant, reflecting an air of superiority over the people of faith, an air of "I am smart and right, you are wrong and stupid". In Atheist Universe, however, Mr. Mills' style reflect a warm, likeable character and he explains his ideas without being disrespectful to the opposition.

There is another, very important reason that this book is different however. It always resorts to science for guidance. On a certain level, Mr. Mills takes some beliefs in Christianity (some of which are common to Judaism and Islam as well) and examines them from a scientific point of view. Creation of the universe in 6 days versus the scientific evidence for billions of years, creation of the Earth only about 6000 years ago according to the Bible versus numerous scientific evidence for much longer, creation of the first human from dirt just in one step versus very long gradual process of natural selection according to science are some of the examples. Reading these parts of the book makes one conclude, at the very least, that science is completely irreconcilable with established theistic religions.

On another level the book takes a more abstract definition of God, not necessarily the god of scriptures, and examines questions such as creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). Mr. Mills' way of tackling with such issues is again resorting to science. He explains the big-bang theory, the law of conversation of mass-energy, and shows that the idea of creation out of nothing is impossible, or inconsistent with science.

Finally he takes the issue of ethics and develops his view that people don't have to be religious to be moral. He shows that religion itself caused the most unethical, immoral conduct of human behavior in history (inquisition, which burnings, torture chambers, Crusades etc.) and he uses modern statistics which show that European countries have a lower percentage of people who believe in God, but they give more to charity, help more for humanistic purposes and have a lower crime rate. Furthermore, he shows statistics that confirm that within the United States, the more "religious" states have a higher crime rate.

Atheist Universe is unique in its use of science to develop and defend its arguments to such a degree of effectiveness. There is no inconsistency in its arguments, no logical fallacy. It is an important book, a book that should be read by any thinking person, regardless of their religious beliefs. Even faithful people should read this book, so they can think through the arguments presented here and perhaps reach their own synthesis.
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mills Is Thought Provoking and Entertaining Nov. 15 2004
By R. Blair Scott - Published on
Mills' book is an outstanding book that looks at the Atheistic universe. The book, which will be a smorgasbord of information for the beginning Atheist, a delight to read for the lifetime Atheist, and a resource for the questioning theist, has it all. Mills' book dives in full-tilt into subjects like "fine tuning," the "god of the gaps," the "miracle" of life, creationism, Hell, miracles, and many others. Mills' creative writing style, which doesn't require a PhD to understand, mixed with his use of humor and witty sarcasm (where appropriate) makes the book fun to read. Mills also leaves nothing to be desired when tackling the issues in his book. Mills does not hold back in discrediting creationism's claim to be scientific and says what needs to be said. In other words, Mills gets straight to the point. The book includes an "Interview with an Atheist" that covers a lot of the questions that people have when they first meet an Atheist. Mills then goes into chapter after chapter breaking these questions down further and expanding greatly on the answers to give the reader a greater idea of what Atheism is, what Atheism is not, and why Atheism is a justified and rational position for anyone to hold. You may or may not agree with everything that Mills has to say in his book, but you will not be lacking when it comes to a read that is both thought provoking and entertaining.

Blair Scott

Alabama State Director, American Atheists

Director, Alabama Atheist

Creator, Atheism Awareness

Columnist, Bible Belt Blasphemy
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