Why There Is No God Review

If you’re familiar with the online atheist superpower Atheist Republic, then you’ve probably heard of their book Why There Is No God, written by their founder Armin Navabi. I’ve had this book for a while, and I decided this weekend to finally read it and give my opinion here on my blog!

If you’re like me, then the first thing you noticed about this book is probably the cool cover design and the bold, catchy title. This book is exactly what it says it is: simple responses to twenty common arguments for the existence of God. As I always try to do, I’ll base my review of this book off of whether or not it achieves the goal that it sets for itself. Why There Is No God, according to Navabi, is written for atheists, believers, and on-the-edge skeptics. It is to meant to guide atheists through the basic points they may make in discussions, help believers better understand their opponents’ arguments, and act as a baseline for a skeptic just starting out in a quest for truth.

All in all, I think this book really accomplishes this. It’s laid out in twenty short chapters, each addressing a theistic argument, all over the course of 120 pages. Some of the arguments and topics include the arguments from design, cosmology, morality, scripture, personal experience, and the existence of miracles, prayer, logic, meaning, and martyrdom. Knowing quite well that the debate on the existence of a deity is massive and could probably fill a whole library, I think Navabi did a great job of introducing several major topics that, when delved into in detail, cover a lot of ground.

Content-wise, I’m tempted to compare this book to Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation and Julian Baggini’s Atheism: A Very Short Introduction. In my review of it, I admitted that I wasn’t crazy about Harris’s short book for reasons such as his accusatory tone and approach which tore down religion. (This is just my opinion, though; my husband recently read and enjoyed it, and I know it’s pretty popular among atheists.)

On the other hand, I didn’t get far through Baggini’s book after he defined atheism as a belief that one can have faith in and independently justify. The only other people I’ve seen who would claim that atheists have faith in No God are apologists, but never an atheist himself. That’s when I decided I was done with that.

So out of these three books, I would place Why There Is No God at the top. It was simple, straightforward, and not condescending, and it achieved the goal set out by the author at the beginning.

Looking past the actual content, though, I felt as though there was just something about this book and what exactly it is. The easiest way I can describe it is “self-published.” I don’t know if I could technically call it that, as the publisher is Atheist Republic, but Atheist Republic was founded by Armin Navabi, the author. I still consider it self-published, but that’s neither here nor there.

Having published their own book, Atheist Republic does a lot to promote it. It shares user photos, as you saw in the tweet above, and it’s advertised throughout their website and other social media pages. If you frequent their site, you’ve probably seen one or both of these photos of the book before:

why there is no god
atheistrepublic.com

The cover is true to what you really get, although I’ll admit that when I got this book in the mail, I was a bit surprised to see how small it was. Here’s a photo of my own book, in contrast to the mockups:

why there is

I just thought it was weird that the book itself wasn’t completely accurately depicted on the website. Furthermore, I felt a bit as though the book looked and read like a blog post on the inside, with a very large font that I sometimes found hard to read.

53429869_1232206850263424_3536676895607226368_n.jpg

I honestly don’t know if things like this bother anybody except me, but as a graphic designer with a special fascination with typography, I found this really distracting as I tried to brush up on topics like Pascal’s Wager. In addition to the odd typesetting, the book was surprisingly full of other typographical and editing errors. I also found it strange that occasionally, the author wrapped up a topic by referring the reader to a website that redirects to an article on the Atheist Republic site (like whythereisnogod.com). This book was pretty short, and Navabi certainly could have fit these additional details in the book, at least in an appendix, if he wanted to.

Typesetting aside, I actually enjoyed and appreciated Why There Is No God quite a bit, more than I expected to, considering how I felt about my other two introductory atheist books. But it was a short and easy read, and at the end of the day, I would recommend this book for anyone that wants to know some quick responses to the basic arguments for God, or who is looking for a quick reference to keep on hand.

25 Replies to “Why There Is No God Review”

  1. One thing is certain, beloved, that the structure of being is simply, by just looking around, hierarchical. That we both agree, especially by the factor of intellectual endowments, among others. Here’s my question, don’t you feel, by means of deduction or otherwise, that inasmuch as there are tiny insignificant(and even brainless-literally) organisms, capable of no more than being a part of nature, is there not a being on the other extreme-almighty, transcendental, master of all subtlety, and omniscient in matters universe? God probably?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I’m a Christian and I am currently attending a Bible College. I was wondering how come you believe what you do? What do you believe about God?

    Like

  3. As to the actual length of the book, vs. the hoked-up image, I’d say it’s a short book trying to look like a longer one (hard covers and all) so as to charge more money (for less book). And the larger typeface only adds to the size, too.

    Cynic that I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post. You say “The only other people I’ve seen who would claim that atheists have faith in No God are apologists, but never an atheist himself. That’s when I decided I was done with that.” I find this whole discussion intriguing. By that I mean, that we on the theist side of the argument are deeply invested in our beliefs, and that is what sometimes causes Christians in my estimation to act in a way contrary to what they say they believe. I always assumed that it was that same investment in a set of opposite beliefs, that sometimes cause atheists to act in a way inconsistent with their moral compass. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. I know sometimes when someone on either side posts a comment, they can almost taste the venom, or maybe the condescending attitude in the replies. Hope this serves as the beginning of a respectful and insightful conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly can’t speak for all atheists, but I don’t agree with the symmetry as you’ve framed here between atheists and theists. The way we ask questions in science is that until a hypothesis is supported evidence, and is independently verified by other investigators, the default position is the null hypothesis. Which is that the relationship that I might assert exists in my hypothesis does not exist until I prove it to be so.

      The default position of an atheist, should be (and I think this is true for many atheists I know) that sufficient evidence for the existence of the divine (God, Gods, supernatural, etc) has not been given. Thus the null hypothesis is one in the divine does not exist. It doesn’t mean that it might not be proven to exist, but we can’t assert existence at this point based on our knowledge of the universe. This does not make the atheist position a belief, but rather the theist has not demonstrated sufficiently their assertions about the nature of the universe.

      I agree with the above that atheists certainly have beliefs. We all do, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that atheists believe there is no God.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Christian belief encompasses all sorts of things, it is much more than believing there is a God. There’s the virgin birth, the resurrection, Adam and Eve, the exodus from Egypt, Abraham and Isaac, Joshua’s battles, Paul’s conversion, Pauls amazing non-escape from prison. I’ve missed out tons, but I hope you get the picture. There is a whole load of belief ‘baggage’ that comes from being a Christian.

      Atheism doesn’t have that. Even if I grant that the atheist believes there is no god, the package of belief is smaller and much less burdensome.

      Like

  5. While faith isn’t a word I would necessarily use in relation to atheism, I would suggest the reason you don’t like it is because you’re sub-consciously acquiescing to the religious annexation of the language for their own ends. ‘Faith’ and ‘belief’ are not exclusively religious words. It’s perfectly acceptable to ‘have faith in’ or ‘believe’ a theory because it has been scientifically proven, e.g. the theory that all gods are fictional. I hate the way the religious talk about ‘faith’, when they really mean religion. In fact I would argue that it is only possible to have ‘faith’ in something tangible. I can have faith in rigorous scientific research, or in my brother’s ability to hold down a job, but to say that you have faith in something that may or may not exist is incorrect use of language.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree. I believe in concrete things, people, ideas, feelings. I use the word ‘faith” to mean “trust” as in, “I have faith that you will finish this job on time…”. Not as part of a belief system. And it annoys me endlessly when someone insists that my ‘belief’ system exists in the same way a religious person’s does. My only belief system is in me and my own abilities. Period.

      Like

  6. I realized long ago there was no god. It was on studying the Bible, learning of the adoption of Satan from the Persian Zoroastrian religion, etc. Then learning about translation error, copy error and how scribes would fill in the missing parts of biblical texts. Yeah. It’s all horse shit and nothing more behind it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m not familiar with Baggini, but personally, I’ve met more than one atheist who seemed to regard atheism as a religious belief. Certainly that was the sentiment of the young man I went to high school with who informed me that he was justified in disrespecting my religious beliefs because I didn’t respect his religious beliefs (on the basis of no more than the fact that he knew I was Catholic. Also, interestingly, at the time, I responded “I thought you had no religious beliefs” but that sure didn’t slow him down.)

    I’m not out to make an argument on the subject, but I lean in that direction myself as an atheist, and find it rather interesting to observe the amount of emotion that the question of atheism as a belief system evokes in some atheists (I guess because this idea that “belief” automatically equals delusion is so entrenched?) Finally, no offense dear, but on that note, it’s rather interesting that you would instantly put Baggini’s book down for saying something you disagree with, specifically on the grounds of your conviction that atheism is most certainly not a belief system.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started the Baggini book soon after I’d come out to my mother, and I thought it would be something I could consider showing to her so she could understand atheism. After seeing Baggini’s weird definitions, though, I didn’t want to show her something I myself didn’t agree with so I didn’t see a point in going on. I was reading some other book at the time that I wanted to get back to.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have the Kindle version and am reading now (slowly). I’m simultaneously reading ‘Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things that piss off the godless,’ by Greta Christina. I enjoy Greta’s book and find myself more willing to grab it. I agree with you about the hint of possible deception regarding the size of Armin’s, but I have no issue with it regarding content (so far). I would find the Baggini interpretation of atheism questionable, too. Tomorrow I plan to post the text from a brochure (tract) I wrote on my ‘Dispassionate Doubt’ blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Greta Christina’s ‘Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things that piss off the godless,’ but I have read her book ‘Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Each Other, and Why.’ She is a very compelling writer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would say anything dealing with philosophy or atheism. I don’t care about the length. I’ve read “Free Will” and “Waking Up” by Sam Harris. I thought about reading “Letter to a Christian Nation,” but someone else in addition to you said it wasn’t that good.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s