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50 Reasons People Give For Believing In A God [Paperback]

Guy P Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 30 2008
Many books that challenge religious belief from a skeptical point of view take a combative tone that is almost guaranteed to alienate believers or they present complex philosophical or scientific arguments that fail to reach the average reader. This is undoubtably an ineffective way of encouraging people to develop critical thinking about religion.

This unique approach to skepticism presents fifty commonly heard reasons people often give for believing in a God and then raises legitimate questions regarding these reasons, showing in each case that there is much room for doubt. Whether you're a believer, a complete skeptic, or somewhere in between, you'll find this review of traditional and more recent arguments for the existence of God refreshing, approachable, and enlightening.

From religion as the foundation of morality to the authority of sacred books, the compelling religious testimony of influential people, near-death experiences, arguments from Intelligent Design, and much more, Harrison respectfully describes each rationale for belief and then politely shows the deficiencies that any good skeptic would point out.

As a journalist who has traveled widely and interviewed many highly accomplished people, quite a number of whom are believers, the author appreciates the variety of belief and the ways in which people seek to make religion compatible with scientific thought. Nonetheless, he shows that, despite the prevalence of belief in God or religious belief in intelligent people, in the end there are no unassailable reasons for believing in a God.

For skeptics looking for appealing ways to approach their believing friends or believers who are not afraid to consider a skeptical challenge, this book makes for very stimulating reading.  

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50 Reasons People Give For Believing In A God + 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True + 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian
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"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but now Guy Harrison has given us 50 ways to believe in God, or not if you care to read this engaging and enlightening book in light of what it says about the cultural and psychological power of belief. If the number one predictor of which God someone believes in is what culture and time period they happened to have been born in, what does that say about the actual existence (or not) of a deity? Read this book to explore the many and diverse reasons for belief."
--Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of Why Darwin Matters

“There's an excellent American publishing house, Prometheus Books, which specializes in agnostic and atheist subjects. I've just finished reading Fifty Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, by Guy P. Harrison. In this thought-provoking book, Harrison makes a powerful case against religion without the need for name-calling, contempt or condescension.

-The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland 

“Harrison has hit the right mix.  He does not coddle or kowtow to believers, but he has a pleasant way of writing.  One can almost imagine that he is smiling as he writes—not a sardonic smile but a real, life-affirming, comfortable-with-who-I-am smile.  His joyful embrace of the natural world and humanity in all its triumphs along with low points and his admission that he does not understand everything he encounters makes this author’s atheism a very happy state of being.”

-Free Inquiry

About the Author

GUY P. HARRISON (San Diego, CA) is an award-winning journalist and the author of Think50 Simple Questions for Every Christian50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, and Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity. Find him on online at www.guypharrison.com, www.facebook.com/guypharrisonauthor, and on Twitter @Harrisonauthor.

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read on beliefs and atheism Sept. 2 2008
Of late, i've read a number of books on atheism and belief. I've read:

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
god is not great by Christopher Hitchens
End of Faith by Sam Harris

All great books that i would also recommend.

As a believer, i've been very interested to hear other points of view of whether there is a God or not. This is by far the best book i've read on the subject. The difference between this book and the others is that Guy Harrison specifically looks at the reasons believers give for belief in a God and tries to answer these questions from the point of an atheist. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a believer or is interested in religion, beliefs, spirituality, and atheism.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Nov. 18 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read many books on the matter of theism/atheism and this so far is one of the best. It is a very easy, enjoyable read, but not at all shallow. The writing flows and the writer gets the message across very well. The 50 chapters are not overly long, so are not tedious. They stay on point and keep you gripped.

Most theists are far too easily offended when their evidence-void supernatural beliefs are brought under the seering light of reason, rationality, and critical thinking. This is largely due to the protection from criticism that religion has enjoyed for far too long.

The criticisms found in the latest wave of books which systematically destroy the myriad religious claims, are actually NOT overly harsh; they are no more harsh than what one would expect in any other realm of debate. In fact, when one considers the wild, fantastical claims of religion, the criticisms one now finds on the bookshelves are actually quite mild and polite.

However, with this in mind, the author intentionally attempts a very tender approach with "believers", and I feel he succeeds extremely well. It is more like he is sitting down and having a friendly conversation with the reader.

The challenge though, is to get the "faithful" to actually put their cherished beliefs (usually fed to them from the cradle) under scrutiny. Most don't have the courage or intellectual honesty to do that. But for those who do care enough about what is true, this book is a very good first step.

An audio interview with the author can be heard here:


PS: I was a christian for 25 years, but now awake for the last 23.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Book on my Religion / Atheist shelf Aug. 11 2011
This is the one book I keep going back to. I would encourage everyone to pick it up and give it a chance. It might not change a religious person's mind, but it certainly opens people up to the real world (a world with multiple religions, not just one) It's an especially fun read for atheists and skeptics who have heard many of these "reasons" before.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the decade July 29 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one book I would highly recommend reading for atheist and theist alike.
A must read for everyone. I would consider this book the best of its kind in a decade.

The book is well organized and easy to reference.

The chapter headings are:
1. My god is obvious.

2. Almost everybody on Earth is religious.

3. Faith is a good thing.

4. Archaeological discoveries prove that my god exists.

5. Only my god can make me feel significant.

6. Atheism is just another religion.

7. Evolution is bad.

8. Our world is too beautiful to be an accident.

9. My god created the universe.

10. Believing in my god makes me happy.

11. Better safe than sorry.

12. A sacred book proves my god is real.

13. Divine justice proves my god is real.

14. My god answers prayers.

15. I would rather worship my god than the devil.

16. My god heals sick people.

17. Anything is better than being an atheist.

18. My god made the human body.

19. My god sacrificed his only son for me.

20. Atheists are jerks who think they know everything.

21. I don't lose anything by believing in my god.

22. I didn't come from a monkey.

23. I don't want to go to hell.

24. I feel my god when I pray.

25. I need my god to protect me.

26. I want eternal life.

27. Without my god we would have no sense of right and wrong.

28. My god makes me feel like I am part of something bigger than myself.

29. My religion makes more sense than all the others.

30. My god changes lives.

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By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If a person is to initiate a life that includes the all important spiritual journey, one must first have a list of the right questions with which to ask oneself. This book is that list of questions. Did I come up with every single answer that the author did? Of course not, but neither should you. Each person's life, whether he/she allows oneself to admit it, is a singular spiritual journey through the unique series of events that are presented over their personal lifetime. While most people spend most of their time asking 'what is happening', the important question that should be asked is 'why is it happening'. This book's questions will give you a series of 'whys' that should be asked over and over again. I highly recommend for all those who have the courage to step off the 'cliff of organized religion' and want to find out the ultimate 'why';...........that is "Why am I here?".
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