Imagine There's No Heaven

Imagine There's No Heaven

How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World

Book - 2014
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The historical achievements of religious belief have been large and well chronicled. But what about the accomplishments of those who have challenged religion? Traveling from classical Greece to twenty-first century America, Imagine There's No Heaven explores the role of disbelief in shaping Western civilization. At each juncture common themes emerge: by questioning the role of gods in the heavens or the role of a God in creating man on earth, nonbelievers help move science forward. By challenging the divine right of monarchs and the strictures of holy books, nonbelievers, including Jean- Jacques Rousseau and Denis Diderot, help expand human liberties, and influence the early founding of the United States. Revolutions in science,in politics, in philosophy, in art, and in psychology have been led, on multiple occasions, by those who are free of the constraints of religious life. Mitchell Stephens tells the often-courageous tales of history's most important atheists-- like Denis Diderot and Salman Rushdie. Stephens makes a strong and original case for their importance not only to today's New Atheist movement but to the way many of us--believers and nonbelievers--now think and live.
Publisher: Basingstoke :, Palgrave Macmillan,, 2014, ©2014.
ISBN: 9781137002600
Branch Call Number: 211. 8 STE
Characteristics: viii, 328 pages ; 24 cm.


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ecrl Nov 20, 2015

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Dec 21, 2014

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Dec 21, 2014

This is a very interesting summary of the thought of atheistic writers who have encouraged people to question and think through the conundrums of life for themselves, not blindly accepting the explanations given by others. I was surprised to see an atheist putting such ideas forward as their own special claim to fame. Don't we expect that a good education would teach us to observe the world around us with eyes and mind open, whether we are an atheist or not? And history does not support the author's assumption that believers walk around in a daze (blind faith?) believing without thinking. I did find the final conclusion to be very dark. The author assumed that such free thinking would lead the searcher to discover that existance was ultimately purposeless and we better get used to living with hopelessness. The book's arguments were weak enough that readers would be encouraged to look elsewhere for good discussions on other aspects of the questions raised by atheists and believers.


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