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I Don't Believe in Atheists Hardcover – Mar 4 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (March 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141656795X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416567950
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Chris Hedges reminds us that the point of religion is not to make us disdain those who think differently but rather to help us become decent, responsive, and moral human beings." - 0, The Oprah Magazine
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New
York Times
, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science
and National Public Radio. He was a member of the team that won the
2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times
coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International
Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges is the author of the bestseller
American Fascists and National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is
a Force That Gives Us Meaning
. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute
and a Lannan Literary Fellow and has taught at Columbia University, New York
University and Princeton University.

Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

56 of 73 people found the following review helpful By M. Norwood on April 8 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Those who insist we are morally advancing as a species are deluding themselves. There is little in science or history to support this idea."

Hedges is overstating his case here. Yes, there are plenty of scientific utopians who will overstate the "progress" humanity has made in the past 500 years. But the fact is that the Enlightenment and contemporaneous developments elsewhere in the world have accomplished drastic improvements in the treatment of human beings by other human beings. Slavery, once a universal practice sanctioned by warlords and priests like, is now nearly abolished worldwide. Women, long held in brutal submission by cultural mores backed by religious authority, are accorded more freedom and dignity than at any other time in human history. Racial, cultural and religious minorities are protected by laws allowing them to live their lives without molestation or discrimination in most free societies today, a reality almost unheard of in the history of mankind. To associate the Nazis with the Enlightenment is shockingly ahistorical: Hitler's nationalist movement, like Mussolini's, was grounded in mythological romanticism and involved the complete rejection of legal and scientific authority, instead elevating the god-king and the tribe using language strikingly similar to the directions given by Jawhew in the Bible. Far from being a consequence of the Enlightenment, it was a reactionary movement against it and back toward tribal religious fanaticism.

WIAFTGUM was a beautiful and honest account of what war does to people and societies. "American Fascists" was a brave denunciation of one of the most dangerous political developments in America today, made doubly brave by his self-indentification as a Christian.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By redfish/bluefish on May 7 2010
Format: Hardcover
Hedges pretty much makes it clear where he standing on the atheism/religion debate just as Dawkins and Hitchens do, and like Dawkins and Hitches, Hedges doesn't necessarily play fair. At times both sides have a tendency to set up their arguments like a child propping up small toy soldiers so that he/she can feel like Napoleon when he/she runs them over.

There were a few points I did take from Hedge's book.

One that's repeated in the book is on the march of progress being anything but bloodless and kind. Just as a religious person may forget the atrocities done in the name of religion, people who believe in progress would sooner like to forget such things as The Reign of Terror and scientific racism (Mismeasurement of a Man by Stephen Jay Gould touches on the history of science and racism). This isn't to say that science and reason haven't brought us wonderful things and changed the world in a positive way, but we shouldn't be blind to the fact that it can be destructive as well. For every vaccine and antibiotic, we've also generated new weapons to kill and maim. As Hedges notes, material progression isn't the same as moral progression, although the two are often confused.

Another is an idea that may of be more interest to people who are of a religious bent is on the concept of God. "The second of the Ten Commandments prohibits the Israelites from making images of the Lord. This new deity could not be captured in pictures, statues or any concrete iconographic form. God existed in the world and through the word, a radical concept in the ancient world. To worship God without physical representation of God made it appear as if believers were worshipping nothing. It was to give up security, It was to believe in a God that could not be seen or controlled.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chris H brilliant as usual. I consider my self an atheist but I love how the author exposes the hidden prejudices, manipulation and interests of those who claim to lead the "atheist" movement. It's an eye opener.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 13 2010
Format: Hardcover
Despite the title, this book is not an actual critique of athiesm, but rather a critique of Dawkins, Hitchens, and particularly Sam Harris, the neo-athiest movement. He does not seem to touch 'classic' athiesm. Infact he seems to respect it.

While there is a section he rallies against 'reason' it is not reason per say that is being railed against, but reason based on a belief that a personalized reasoning is flawless and totally free of bias. If anything, i gained the impression that he warned against 'careless' reasoning rather than reasoning it self.

It is easy to misinterpret Chris Hedges message, nor have i agreed with everything he has written. None the less, this book is one of the few works of it's kind in popular print media.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tyeve on June 18 2011
Format: Paperback
Chris Hedges is an important voice and I vastly admire the works he has produced and the way he helps me see the world more clearly on a daily basis. But in this book he seems to have "snapped" (as another reviewer put it). I assume that his enforced Christian upbringing is too deeply entrenched in his persona to allow him to accept criticisms of philosophies based on myth and, I feel, manipulation. (With that statement you will see where I stand!)

He employs too many over-generalizations to attack those who disagree with him on religion. This is so very, very contrary to the clear thinker I know him to be. "They propose a route to collective salvation and the moral advancement of the human species through science and reason." This route, science and reason, is, in my interpretation, the one Hedges follows in his clear-thinking works. That, mixed with anger, indignation, and a sense of moral outrage.

It's unfortunate that Hedges gets downright insulting, as when he confusingly tries to lump together humanists (I'm not avoiding the term "atheist", I embrace it, but I want to use "humanist" to remind us what we are talking about): "These atheists and Christian radicals have built squalid little belief systems that are in the services of themselves and their own power. They urge us forward into a non-reality-based world, on where force and violence, self-exaltation and blind nationalism and unquestioned good..." And so it goes.

As other reviewers have noted, some writers, Christopher Hitchens being an obvious example, are self-important blowhards. These type of people exists in many human groupings and, perhaps unfortunately, get a disproportionate share of attention.
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