Anyone reading Atheism Advanced, by David Eller?

I have been slowly reading a good but challenging book titled Atheism Advanced. Though I am only up to chapter 4, it seems that the author is trying to argue that we atheists are not effectively debating religion because we're debating god believers on their own terms.

Eller took on the difficult challenge of arguing that religion is not a real entity, but he goes on to explain how the concepts of gods, supernatural ideas, and other belief systems have evolved over time, as if they are real. He contends that we need to stop debating god-believers on their own terms. When we say, for example, "I don't believe in God", it gives the impression that there is actually a god not to believe in. Our response to this question should not be in the negative or the affirmative (at least not in the beginning.) It should be responded to with another question, "What do you mean by God"? "Who and what is this god you're talking about?"

I can't even do justice to what this book is about. Even after hearing the author on the Infidel Guy's show, I find that this book cannot be summarized even in a few paragraphs. Ealler uses both philosophical and scientific arguments that atheism "means more than the absence of God believes: it is the absence—indeed the rejection—of believe altogether."

Eller goes way beyond what Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris do in their books, I'm not even halfway through the book, but I think he is trying to develop a new understanding of how we atheists argue against religion and theisms.

Though his writing is clear and concise, you'll find the content to be very challenging. It may not be the book for your summer reading list. In fact, this book is best read as part of a philosophical course or group discussion. The depth and scope of the content is often overwhelming, but if you've already read four or five good atheist books, then Eller book is the advanced work you'll want to dig into next.

If anyone out there is reading this book or has read it, please contact me. I'll get a lot more out of this book by discussing it with someone else who is reading it.

Views: 43

Tags: atheism, book

Comment by Dave G on July 6, 2009 at 12:21pm
Hmm, this sounds very interesting.

I tend to ask for definitions of 'God' a lot when asked (usually in a disbelieving tone) why I don't believe in (or am angry with, or have rejected) God. It usually garners me a befuddled look or a 'God, you know, Jesus!' style answer.
Comment by Bakari Chavanu on July 6, 2009 at 5:23pm
Yeah, you know,it would be interesting to actually see Eller in a debate with a theists and see how he would handle that debate differently from say Dawkins.
As for myself, I don't typically debate anyone. I have believers in my family but they pretty much avoid discussing their religious views with me because they find it difficult to defend their beliefs in a discussion with me.
I keep harping back to them that there simply is no proof of an existence of supernatural beings of any kind, and there's certainly no proof of the gods that are described in the Bible. So how can I believe or not believe in something that has no existence?

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