reading

Read: The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism


I just finished The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism and it was quit enjoyable to me. Keep in mind I am a philosophical agnostic who enjoys this sort of discussion but leans strongly towards atheism. It is just that sort of book I can enjoy. Thinking about religion and Humanism but personally having no strong belief system to uphold. However, others might find his more systematic deconstruction of religion offensive if the are devout religious people. Or perhaps they would welcome the discussion. I would love to do an in depth review on the book and get into it in more depth but I feel that would incite people to defend their religion and others to defend atheism. I can see how intense those can get and they are besides the fact. It is entirely up to you whether you want to read a book that deconstructs the purpose and reasons and logic of religion, and promotes humanism as a more valuable replacement. Since that is the premise of the book. If it is not for you, then I would not recommend it at all.

I will say that I enjoyed the section on Agnostics. Those of us that sit on the fence and the reasons why we do. He quotes Bertrand Russell by saying “An agnostic is a man who thinks it is impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which the Christian religion and other religions are concerned, or, if not for ever impossible, at any rate impossible at the present moment.” And, “The agnostic suspends judgement, saying there are not sufficient grounds for either affirmation or denial. At the same time, an agnostic may hold that the existence of God, though not impossible, is very improbable; he may even hold so improbable that it is not worth considering in practice.” In other words pretty close to an atheist but not quite, which is often where I find myself… with Bertrand on that one. Or at least I did for years until I realized it was just too improbable to make sense. But I still consider myself agnostic for other reasons. Reasons he missed, but he nailed all the others.

Grayling points out ‘Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same things as proving it is true.’ (60) Which makes a lot of sense really. There are arguments for the existence of God and against his existence and in the end it seems you cannot prove it one way or the other. ‘Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder.’ (60)

Anyway if you are interested in the topic of religion or humanism, are philosophical, are an agnostic… this book is for you. It is a very enjoyable read that makes you think of different scenarios in a new way.  I didn’t agree with everything he said, found some of the things he said compelling and it was definitely an interesting read.

 

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