Seven Types of Atheism Kindle  Seven Types PDF/EPUB

  • Hardcover
  • 176 pages
  • Seven Types of Atheism
  • John N. Gray
  • English
  • 03 February 2016
  • 9780241199411

10 thoughts on “Seven Types of Atheism

  1. Christopher Christopher says:

    Early in this book Gray says something that I have been saying for years Whenever atheism as a movement has existed it always allies itself with pseudoscience I have been annoyed by movement atheism for years and am amazed how obtuse many of these atheists are Gray gives a critiue of five types of these negative dogmatic atheists and then gives accounts of two positive forms of atheism Some of these overlap with each other 1 New Atheism Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are both mentioned though Gray could have mentioned Daniel Dennett as well These types of atheists are just trotting out the old post enlightenment arguments that religion is obsolete in this world Gray claims that these atheists simply do not understand what religion is and that it is about meaning and not about truth 2 Secular Humanism Gray argues that secular humanism is just monotheistic religion specifically Christianity refashioned This is sure to be the most controversial one but Gray points out that secular humanists never address the problem of nihilism and morality that Nietzsche proposed in his philosophy 3 Science worship This could be accurately defined as pseudoscience worship Gray charts the relationship between rationalists and racist pseudoscience This is one of my big uibbles with the book that Gray doesn't also mention sexism Racist pseudoscience is still there in atheist movements but sexism is the new cool atheist bigotry with outright anti feminism being the norm of supposedly scientific skeptics 4 Political religions Gray talks about Jacobins Leninist and Nazis This one I think is a little shaky The first and last category aren't even atheists in the sense most people mean I do agree that these three groups threat politics like a religion and that it is definitely worth talking about Lenin and Stalin when mentioning atheists 5 God haters The Maruis De Sade is the template for this type of atheist Gray claims that they define themselves in opposition to religion in particular Christianity to the point that they are practically Christian In the case of De Sade Gray argues that he contradicted himself by saying religion a seemingly natural human phenomenon was contrary to nature This type of atheist is very rare in society at least in terms of public figures It is so rare that Gray has to use examples from fiction particularly Dostoyevsky to make his points However I would say that the New Atheist Christopher Hitchens was actually this type of atheist 6 Religion loving atheists Religion loving might be a bit strong for this type of atheist but I would say this is the category that I fit into I consider religion to be a natural part of the human experience and while there are types of religious beliefs I find abhorrent and I am critical of religious institutions and movements there are plenty of religious people I respect think of as allies and understand the basis of their need for their religious faith 7 Atheist Mystics This is a shaky one too Gray includes Schopenhauer and Spinoza Spinoza was an atheist by traditional standards but some would argue his pantheism makes him not really an atheist Anyway is this book perfect? Hell no The categories have significant overlap and some of them are nebulous and hard to define but it hits the nails on the basic premise of the book that seeing religion and atheism as opposites of each other is the wrong way to frame things

  2. Nick Imrie Nick Imrie says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Gray wrote this book entirely out of irritation with the 'New Atheists' The first chapter is a sharp set down of Dawkins co and their childishly simple misunderstandings of religion I find this rather unfair but as a big Dawkins fan boy I suppose I am partial It's all well and good for Gray to sneer at Dawkins for failing to know that Augustine already made clear that the story of creation should be not be interpreted literally But Dawkins didn't get into atheism out of a pure free floating hatred of his own mis understanding of Christianity Dawkins got into atheism because his work as an evolutionary biologist was continually coming under attack from creationists who not only firmly believe in creationism but also wish to teach it to children and prevent the teaching of science There's absolutely no point criticising atheists for having silly opinions of religions when vast numbers of actual religious people are busy pushing those silly opinionsI have sympathy with Gray's dismissal of New Atheism when he points out that they are mostly treating religion as a collection of factual claims which can be tested and declared true or false but religion is so much than that it's ritual community myth; it gives us not mere information but meaning Rational arguments against the god of Abraham are nothing than a local dispute; religion is a much wider phenomenonThat being said the rest of the book is very interesting John Gray is a grumpy old Eeyore and not only aggravated by New Atheists he's also extremely skeptical of the optimism of progressives in general it's highly amusing to see him irritably waving away their castles in the air One thing he makes clear which has been troubling me and as I age is that most irreligious people in the West are not nearly so irreligious as they imagine Mostly they are still practising Christian ethics just without the Christian framework as in the universalism that underpins so much humanist thoughtSome of this is amusing such as the side by side parallels between Christian and Communist eschatology highlighted with the amazing story of Munster which during the reformation tried to implement a perfect Christian community but ended up almost exactly like a Communist country complete with bread lines starvation mass executions hysterical denounciations and the destruction of families It's uite astonishingThe rest is unnerving I'm persuaded that the Humanist belief that science and technology will continually improve our lives is as much an article of faith as the Christian belief in Providence I know a lot of Pinker and Ridley fans get testy at that and point out the wonderful improvements in medicine and the reduction in global poverty that have improved so many lives I'm not denying that has happened but the pessimists are right if we look at history we see that knowledge can be lost networks can collapse living standards can decline and people can turn murderously on each other at a moment's notice Our technology may have improved but our minds have not and to imagine that we cannot regress is wishful thinkingI used to be the sort of atheist who was uietly confident that religion is not necessary for morality agreeing with Dawkins Ricky Gervais and others that the existence of good atheists and bad religious people was all the proof necessary Indeed I remember seeing atheists proudly publish statistics showing that atheists were in fact less likely to commit crimes But as Gray points out most atheists are nothing than conformists the 'good' atheists of the enlightenment were usually terrible racists the 'good' atheists of the early 20th century were eugenicists Modern atheists tend to be moderate liberals ie standard conformists blithely untroubled by difficult ethical uestions like why they hold certain moral values There are a great many humanists who are proud supporters of human rights but who couldn't clearly explain what rights are why they're good how they're justified or why anyone else is obliged to care about themAfter demolishing the shiny rationalism of progressives Gray lays into the God haters which is much juicy and dramatic stuff The God of the Old Testament is clearly a very nasty piece of work and not to be admired And people have often given up puzzling over theodicy in disgust thrown up their hands and turned their back on God Then on the other hand you have de Sade hating God not because he allows evil but because he demands good The last chapter touches on some possible atheisms which manage to be both positive and free of the influences of Christianity It's not a large book so there sadly wasn't enough time to go into detail We got no than a tantalising introduction to Spinoza Schopenhauer and SantayanaDon't expect to be convinced or converted by this book it does not really aim to defend or promote religion or atheism Though Gray is exasperated by atheism by the derivative by the silly; he doesn't offer anything better He is mostly writing against grand over fitting narratives If he favours anything it's being sensible and cautious in holding and applying beliefs

  3. Jenna Jenna says:

    Though I disagree with much that is asserted in this book it nonetheless stimulated a lot of thought That along with learning new things is one of the most important factors when it comes to my enjoyment or liking of a book and so I'll still give it 4 stars  The author comes across as a curmudgeon who used this book as a soapbox to attack both Christianity and the new atheists and doesn't spare liberals either  He seems to have a bone to pick with Richard Dawkins a personal dislike of him with perhaps a hint of jealousy The statements in the book are often contradictory as well which was infuriatingFurther irritating me is that the author categorizes a type of atheist he refers to as the God hatersI need to state loud and clear An atheist cannot hate God A god hater is not a type of atheist Does anyone hate Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny? No? Why not? Because you cannot hate someone you don't think is real  You can hate the idea of a god but not an entity seen as God unless you do in fact believe there is such a being It always irritates me when someone implies I don't believe in God always their specific one simply because I hate it and don't want to go along with its rules Nope I don't believe in Santa Claus and I don't believe in a Sky Daddy and thus I can't hate either oneOne thing I did appreciate about this book is the history Mr Gray includes about the people whom he uses as examples for his various types of atheists These include people like Schopenhauer Nietzsche Bertrand Russell and Dostoyevsky As noted in my first paragraph one of the factors that makes me like a book is when I learn something new  I can't help but appreciate books that both teach me new things and inspire a lot of thought even when there is much I disagree with And I hope that whoever keeps flagging my atheist posts will also consider learning some tolerance for other points of view

  4. Marc Marc says:

    Books by John Gray never leave you indifferent The British philosopher has made it his trademark to knock down sacred houses For years he has been crusading against our naive belief in Enlightenment progress and especially our deeply rooted humanism For those who have been following him for a while this booklet doesn't offer much new Gray uses atheism as a focus to shove his very peculiar stance once again into our headsIn his first chapters he mainly focuses on the movement that was suddenly labelled 'New Atheism' some 15 years ago with spokespersons such as Richard Dawkins Daniel Dennett Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchins 'The Four Horsemen ' According to Gray their message just is old wine in new bottles In practice they simply offer a secular form of the Christian or at least monotheistic message Believe in God has been replaced by belief in science but belief in progress and in human supremacy has remained “Contemporary atheism is a continuation of monotheism by other means Hence the unending succession of God surrogates such as humanity and science technology and the all too human visions of transhumanism But there is no need for panic or despair Belief and unbelief are poses the mind adopts in the face of an unimaginable reality A godless world is as mysterious as one suffused with divinity and the difference between the two may be less than you think”In the following chapters Gray provides an overview of different atheist authors in the past The tone is rather encyclopaedic It includes familiar names such as Baruch Spinoza Friedrich Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell as well as some much lesser known writers and thinkers As in his previous books he treads not lightly but always offers a sharp and sometimes blunt analysis Regularly his argument is way off for example when he portrays the great Enlightenment philosophers and also Marx as rabid racists clearly an anachronistic aberration The great merit of these chapters though is that Gray shows that atheism is not just a uniform whole but has very different faces But as said according to him almost all of them are sick in the same bed because they mirror themselves too much to the monotheistic religions they fight against He himself rather opts for a minimalist atheism that he calls apophatic a kind of negative theology related to agnosticism and to mysticism that says that really nothing can be said about God and that reality just is messy As always Gray is very erudite and pointed in this book but not without flaws it contains among other things an ugly miss about Dostoevsky's Karamazov novel; he is wonderfully provocative and certainly makes you think about things but sometimes he really goes too far in his interpretation 25 stars

  5. Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin says:

    I liked this book If you are a no nonsense don't put me on the couch logical slicer dicer you aren't going to like this book This book is one of those books that looks in the philosophical narratives we assume that often implicit about our place in the world If you think psychoanalyzing atheists is the height of presumption then you will be turned off If you believe religion or lack thereof is not merely holding to a certain intellectual or dogmatic tenet but a narrative about how to be in the world you will enjoy this book I grant that the author slags a bit certain kinds of atheism but his ideas about the narratives around these worldviews and visions are fairly illuminating You don't have to share his like or dislikes but if you don't get too defensive might come to a kind genealogy of atheist worldviews and get a different take on your own good stuff Here is a video of the author in an interview you have to go four minutes in to reach the start of the video

  6. Safat Safat says:

    There are different kinds of theists However when it comes to atheism we simply lump them into one single group atheists But obviously if you think about it atheism is also heterogeneous The atheisms of Dawkins Russell Conrad and Schopenhauer are uite of different genre In 'Seven types of atheism' author John Grey explores different shades of atheism Recommended for anyone who identifies him or herself as an atheist and wants to find his or her proper position within the spectrum

  7. Todd Todd says:

    There had been some good buzz about this book so I came in cautiously optimistic about this foray into the varieties of atheism Ultimately it left me moderately disappointed as Gray left something lacking in his analysis argument and overall presentation Perhaps this book will prove helpful to someone starting out on formulating their views and take of atheism For someone who has previously grappled with figures in the history of ideas like Dostoevsky Nietzsche Joseph Conrad Bertrand Russell and the like it feels like a walk down the memory lane of atheism for a dalliance with figures of the past and their ideas who we have hopefully learned from and moved beyond That is certainly what some of these giants would have hoped for future generations           Sometimes an author has one very interesting novel idea and we should give credit where credit is due Gray was onto something about some of the varieties of atheisms arising out of the Romantic movement and the Victorian era and their modern day successors arising out of the scientific community Within these types of atheism as we can see from their literary exemplars GW Hegel John Stuart Mill Bertrand Russell Richard Dawkins they were still largely in the grips of the Christianity they thought they were breaking out from One of the central lines if not the central line running through the argument was that faith in progress in many of the varieties of atheism is a secularization and humanization of Christian faith As a pastiche of Hegel we could say they are reacting to Christianity in the form of its antithesis In other words their projects and the horizons of the projects be they consciously or not were still promulgated and were acting within the orbit and gravitational pull of the Christian faith that they were protesting to rebelling from and attempting to break free of If Gray came in with one big idea this was it and he does a persuasive job of making this argument   However a few things were bothering me as I was reading his argument After reading enough books in philosophy science and the history of ideas you start to pick up the ways of literature and the stronger and weaker manners of argument One of those weaker arguments is on full display here Gray did the old trick where he took old intellectual giants as his subjects and interlocutors; and instead of focusing on the lessons imparted by these giants to us the future generations he took on their ideas within a largely critical framework This is like taking Galileo Newton and for good measure Einstein as your subjects and interlocutors in physics and math and focusing on their faults and limitations Against Galileo we could criticize him for not figuring out gravity Against Newton we could hold against him his lack of appreciation of relativity Finally against Einstein we could dock points for not figuring out uantum physics and not unifying it with relativity This would seem unfair and intellectually dishonest The reason is that these are the shoulders of the giants we stand on Well the same goes for philosophy and atheism These are the shoulders of some of the giants we stand on We can critiue them for their shoulders for being a little crooked for standing facing away from the camera and for not posing with the most fashionable poses Teenagers do the same thing with their parents For good reason we good naturedly smile and chortle at the teenage children as impetuous kids because we know their intellectual and developmental limits and the historical horizons they are not seeing In my book we are long past the time where you get 8's 9's or 10's from the judges for dunking on John Stuart Mill or Bertrand Russell How much interesting is it to tell the story of what the views pictures and understandings they imparted to us The history of ideas is the story of people through the generations challenging received wisdom and the order of church and state At the same time to the man on the street there is a much less interesting story of philosophical systems and schools of thought challenging each other In reality it is a combination of the two ideas inform invention; however as historians are wont to show us as in the industrial revolution often than not invention now informs ideas The strength of the original progressive movement was that it had science on its side It really had enlisted science on its side However the original progressive movement in its nativity it just assumed the former; similarly the naive and less sophisticated in the original progressive camp also thought progress was inherent in the teleological advancement of time and human society There was a reckoning to come Gray's argument seems to revel and at times dwell in this hard fought reckoning  Now of course we will move beyond them In the modern world that is the goal of each generation To do this productively it certainly helps to recognize our progenitors gave us the worldview that we inhabit In the case of the figures in atheism discussed here if their views seem limited and dated that is because Gray chose old subjects and dated interlocutors With the exception of Dawkins and the like who come from an entirely different intellectual tradition Gray is engaging with figures from the 19th and early 20th century This book would have been considerably stronger had Gray engaged with the leading lights of mid and late 20th century thought This was of course a selective rendering Had he engaged with them it would have considerably weakened his argument and thesis One of the central motifs running through mid 20th century thinkers who had lived in the time leading up to and through World War II and the Holocaust to name a few Theodor Adorno Herbert Marcuse and Hannah Arendt was a thoroughgoing pessimism and cynicism towards the faith in progress assumed by the previous generations The horrors of WWII showed that science and technology can lead to poverty domination and atrocities just as easily as it can lead to continuing growth wealth and shared affluence ie the land of milk and honey What's troublesome about Gray's position is that the loss of the faith in progress took decades to repair What's problematic is that he does not reference or even intimate the hard work of repair that is still ongoing With the setbacks and losses of the 1970s and 1980s the social science and reformers movement lost their confidence Relativism is one of the guises of this loss of confidence Under the grip of relativism academics intellectuals and reformers lost confidence in a real world out there and they lost confidence in science and its ability as a tool to deploy as people seek to gain and secure improvement Another recent development has been the development of a libertarian atheism This has largely happened in Europe and the United States since the 1970s It has accelerated and come to prominence through various national populisms and the Alt Right What is salient in these newer libertarian and Alt Right varieties of atheism is that they revel in the loss of faith in progress and different liberals struggling with formulating new projects after that loss of faith A wider treatment would engage with and tackle these newer and conseuential varieties of atheism Religion is still a tricky one For better or worse ethics morality values and politics these all vie for the same space in defining the good and the common good They are the basis for our goals and ends The separation between church and state means we smuggle in morality ethics and values through politics the political process and recently political confrontation Our society sneaky devil that it is also smuggles in s and morality through other back doors like consumerism cleanly living exercise culture and tribalism A full treatment of atheism would engage with these side doors and back doors that are of necessity constructed and opened when the front door of temple and religion are closed

  8. Marco Marco says:

    Contemptful pseudo witty demolition of basically every kind of atheistic thought based on the purportedly clever reiteration of the following scheme atheists of this kind think that something they actually don't think historicalliterary examples which in the opinion of the author exemplify that kind of atheism though they actually don't henceforth they are just christian monotheists in disguise with no serious attempt at explaining WHYGray seems to incarnate the stereotypical intellectual who thinks he's so intellectually above the rest of the plebs that his arguments don't need to be rooted in logic nobody will ever notice that — take out the vulgar display of citiationist power — the core of them is just self congratulatory fluff

  9. Taka Taka says:

    Good but It's basically a rehash of Gray's views on religion secular humanism faith in science progress the Christian Millenarian Gnostic roots of what he calls evangelical liberalism the Enlightenment origins of Communism and Nazism and so forth And the cast of characters are familiar too like Schopenhauer Santayana Conrad Wittgenstein Nietzsche Shestov Mesmer Auguste de Comte the Utilitarians Bentham Mill Sidgwick Russell etc That is if you've read a book by Gray after The False Dawn you've pretty much read this book On the positive side it was a good review—though some types of atheism he presents start mixing and blurring I mean doesn't secular humanism one type of atheism that believes in salvation have faith in science another type that makes religion out of science—which is a hallmark of Gnosticism— share key traits of political religion in its militant intolerance as seen in Bush's campaign to eradicate evil? Granted the types are like ambiguous prototypes with blurry edges and boundaries but still I would've liked a little clarity there The introduction was the most informative for me as Gray defines key terms like atheism which he defines narrowly as simply the absence of the idea of a creator god and religion an attempt to find meaning in events not a theory that tries to explain the universe and distinguishes between belief and practice with the former being an invention of monotheism and irrelevant to most religions the world over as they tend to center around practiceThe chapter on God haters featuring the Maruis de Sade Ivan Karamazov and William Empson felt like new material and then the last two types as represented by SantayanaConrad and SchopenhauerSpinozaShestov retreat back to familiar territory once againMercifully the book is short at 158 pages and for the length it seems to cover a lot of ground and despite the reiterated topics the book didn't bore me and its ending resonated with me uite a bit A godless world is as mysterious as one suffused with divinity and the difference between the two may be less than you think Touche And that's what he is probably getting at with those rather ambiguous types of atheism that they blur together sometimes because there isn't as much difference as you might initially think

  10. Mehrsa Mehrsa says:

    This book could have been clear if the author had spent a bit time on a clear thesis from each chapter or a taxonomy Still the book made me really think a lot about the different strands of atheism The big thesis of the book was that so many of the new atheists are basically just another version of the Christian story of progress And this book makes the case that belief in human progress is basically at odds with atheism and evolutionary theory

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Seven Types of Atheism☄ Seven Types of Atheism PDF / Epub ✓ Author John N. Gray – For a generation now public debate has been corroded by a narrow derision of religion in the name of an often very vaguely understood 'science' John Gray's stimulating and extremely enjoyable new book For a generation now public debate has been corroded by a narrow derision of religion in the name of an often very vaguely understood 'science' John Gray's stimulating and extremely enjoyable new book describes the rich complex world of the atheist tradition a tradition which he sees as in many ways as rich as that of religion itself as well as being deeply intertwined with what is so often crudely viewed as its 'opposite'The result is a book that sheds an extraordinary and varied light on what Seven Types PDF/EPUB or it is to be human and on the thinkers who have at different times and places battled to understand this issue.

About the Author: John N. Gray

John Nicholas Gray is a English political philosopher with interests in analytic philosophy and the history of ideas He retired in as School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and Political Science Gray contributes regularly to The Guardian The Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman where he is the lead book reviewer.