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The Atheist's Primer

The latter require a sharp intellect, and very subtle reasoning the subtlety of the arguments warrants this precision — and this might present a problem for some readers. This is not always 'easy' reading, and sometimes, it is quite difficult: but Murray's style is still quite clear, and basically easy to follow.


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One does, however, need to take it steadily, and think through the arguments and rebuttals carefully — but Murray is always as helpful as he can be and on this subject, one needs to be! This short book pages of text has 25 Chapters split into Five parts. Each Chapter covers a number of arguments as described above. The range is extensive, covering quite a surprising number of topics and issues.

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The last Part, for example, deals with topics such as Mysticism, Morality, the Meaning of Life, Death, and Error Theory theories on why beliefs persist even when proved erroneous. None of this, of course, will convert anyone to atheism, but as far as I am aware this book is unique in presenting its arguments so comprehensively and clearly in a concise manner that is more or less readily accessible to the non-specialist reader.


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Highly recommended for anyone who needs solid, rational thinking on this important subject. Oct 28, D. Cairns rated it really liked it. What should a Christian expect when he begins reading a book called The Atheist's Primer? This Christian mistakenly thought he was buying a book written by a Christian to argue against atheism.

The Golden Compass: A Primer on Atheism

Clearly I didn't read the back cover blurb before I bought it. Having now read the blurb I see it was intended to 1.

He also writes with occasional condescension and arrogance. His analogies and explanations are very well explained and clearly, in most cases, illustrate his points. Bottom line? There is no empirical evidence for the existence of metaphysical agency ie God. If therefore you believe in God, whatever reason you have for your belief is illogical and you are deluded. Belief in God is not epistemically warranted.

The author does not believe in God because he denies all metaphysical agency. His arguments begin from this point of view.

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If it is not logical, then it cannot be true. His attempts to explain away alleged supernatural phenomena, to deny metaphysical agency, read like clever self justification. He often used natural things, like his mind, to try to comprehend supernatural things. The finite mind cannot fully grasp infinite concepts, but Murray's response is to abandon anything which can't be rationally explained, or to say that in fact everything has a rational explanation.

That's not a criticism. It's merely an acknowledgment that's what atheists do. I could read Murray's book because it was fair. It presented different Theistic points of view and referenced some significant Theistic thinkers.

I thought it was a reasonably balanced presentation, but it was a little frustrating to read at times because I happen to accept metaphysical agency. I believe in God, and I don't expect to understand him fully. I know that some things are beyond my ability to understand and I don't need a rational explanation for everything. I can recommend The Atheist's Primer with a couple of caveats. Firstly, a lot of Murray's arguments take the form of long winded, and to me confusing, logic.

What Atheism Is & What It's Not

Perhaps my mind just doesn't work like that maybe I am illogical and deluded , but I had trouble following it sometimes. For example, the author's use of Mr Smith and Mr Jones mowing their lawns when he was discussing omniscience and free will was too much for me. Him saying that God can't be timeless atemporal, eternal and present temporal at the same time just proves my point about him not being prepared to accept anything beyond his comprehension as true.

Secondly, if you like hard core, rabid Christian haters like Dawkins, you may not like Murray's gentle, reasonable and fair minded approach. Dawkins gets a mention, but Murray seems like a nice bloke and some one I'd be interested in having a conversation with. Thirdly, if you're a Christian, you need to be careful with this material, and remember Paul's warnings in Titus arguments and controversies and Colossians clever and fine sounding arguments.

The Atheist's Primer

In 1 Corinthians he also reminds us that God is smarter than we are. May 29, Aaron rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites. For the most part, this was a good book. The arguments against the ontological and cosmological proofs were my favorites. This is a compelling review, Prayson, and I appreciate how you challenged the author in a few places, as well as lauded him. Keep up the good blog!

Thanks for the good review. Oktober I hope your uncorrected proof copy indicates it will come soon Thanks for the review. I might check it out. I dealt with academic atheism in college, then New Atheism recently. Search for:. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby preventing the occurrence of some greater good. Like this: Like Loading Post to Cancel.

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