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Atheism For Dummies

ISBN: 978-1-118-50920-3
384 pages
March 2013
Atheism For Dummies (111850920X) cover image
The easy way to understand atheism and secular philosophy

For people seeking a non-religious philosophy of life, as well as believers with atheist friends, Atheism For Dummies offers an intelligent exploration of the historical and moral case for atheism. Often wildly misunderstood, atheism is a secular approach to life based on the understanding that reality is an arrangement of physical matter, with no consideration of unverifiable spiritual forces.

Atheism For Dummies offers a brief history of atheist philosophy and its evolution, explores it as a historical and cultural movement, covers important historical writings on the subject, and discusses the nature of ethics and morality in the absence of religion.

  • A simple, yet intelligent exploration of an often misunderstood philosophy
  • Explores the differences between explicit and implicit atheism
  • A comprehensive, readable, and thoroughly unbiased resource

As the number of atheists worldwide continues to grow, this book offers a broad understanding of the subject for those exploring atheism as an approach to living.

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Introduction 1

Part I: Understanding What Atheism Is 7

Chapter 1: Meeting Atheism 9

Chapter 2: Unweaving the Rainbow of Disbelief 19

Chapter 3: Recognizing What Atheists Do and Don’t Believe — and Why 37

Part II: Following Atheism through the Ages 63

Chapter 4: Finding Atheism in the Ancient World 65

Chapter 5: Going Medieval 79

Chapter 6: Enlightening Strikes 91

Chapter 7: Opening a Golden Age of Freethought 107

Chapter 8: Growing Up in the Tumultuous 20th Century 121

Chapter 9: Voicing a New Atheism, and a New Humanism, for the 21st Century 145

Part III: Reading the Great Works of Atheism 169

Chapter 10: Uncovering Lost, Secret, Censored, and Forbidden Works 171

Chapter 11: Sampling Important Works: Deep Thoughts, Big Thinkers 183

Chapter 12: Laughing in Disbelief: Challenging the Divine with Humor 203

Chapter 13: Reawakening Passionate Disbelief: Key Works of the 21st Century 217

Part IV: Living a Full Life without Belief in God 233

Chapter 14: Getting Personal with Atheism Today 235

Chapter 15: Being Good with or without God 253

Chapter 16: Seeing the World Naturally 275

Chapter 17: Being an Atheist in a Religious World 291

Chapter 18: Getting the Best of Religion … and Leaving the Rest 311

Part V: The Part of Tens 327

Chapter 19: Ten Surprising Things about Atheists and Other Nonbelievers 329

Chapter 20: Ten (Plus One) Famous People You May Not Know are Nonbelievers 335

Chapter 21: Ten Fun and Easy Ways to Explore Atheism 343

Index 351

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Dale McGowan, PhD, writes the popular secular blog The Meming of Life, teaches secular parenting workshops across North America, and is executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist charitable organization. He has been interviewed in major publications, such as Newsweek and the New York Times, and was 2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year.

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