Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray review – fascinating study of disbelief

This post is by Richard Harries from Books | The Guardian

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The British philosopher has produced a thought-provoking account of the tradition of atheism and the problems with it

There is an old story of two atheists in Northern Ireland who expressed relief that they had risen above the religious rivalry of their contemporaries. Then one defined himself as a “Protestant atheist” and the other as a “Catholic atheist” and they split apart. The serious point here is that there are many forms of atheism and their meaning depends on what God or gods are being rejected. The first Christians were called atheists because they refused to worship the state deities. John Gray is scathing about the intellectual pretensions of the “new atheists” with their “smears and fulminations” but sees in them a fault line that has run right through most forms of atheism since the 18th century. This is that in reacting against the creator-God of the Jewish and Christian ...

Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray review – is every atheist an inverted believer?

This post is by Terry Eagleton from Books | The Guardian

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An an impressively erudite work, ranging from St Augustine to Joseph Conrad, embraces an atheism that finds enough mystery in the material world

There has been a rash of books in recent years by thinkers for whom the human race is getting nicer and nicer. Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley and Sam Harris are rational humanists who believe in progress, however many famines and genocides may disfigure the planet. We are en route to a vastly improved future. Perhaps this return to the values of the western Enlightenment is not unrelated to the threat of radical Islam. The philosopher John Gray’s role has been to act as a Jeremiah among these Pollyannas, insisting that we are every bit as nasty as we ever were. If there is anything he detests, it is schemes of visionary transformation. He is a card-carrying misanthrope for whom human life has ...