This book is a hard hitting attack against belief in the Christian God as well as all other supernatural beings (called 'gods' in the book). Intended primarily for laymen and consequently relatively free from technical philosophical argument and jargon, this book might well be used in a beginning course in the philosophy of religion as a fair representation of contemporary atheistic thought. Students would, I believe, find it more provocative and challenging, than some other treatment that may be technically more sophisticated. The author's direct and forceful way of making his points has great appeal; clearly, it is a book written with deep intellectual passion.
However, there are some limitations to the book as an introduction to atheism and teachers of philosophy might wish to supplement it with other works. First, Smith's critical treatment of the standard arguments for the existence of God is incomplete. Variants of the cosmological and technological arguments are critically evaluated, but the ontological argument and other arguments for the existence of God are not considered. Second, the argument against the existence of God from the existence of evil is (by the author's own admission) not treated in depth. The author believes (incorrectly, I think) that relative to other difficulties with belief in God the problem of evil is not important (80). Third, arguments against the existence of God using some version of the verifiability theory of meaning are not developed at all. (click for full review)
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