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An interesting, nuanced, honest, and especially surprising account of an atheist who looks at religion and actually argues that the world is better with religion than without it Religion is the cause, so Sheiman argues, that human beings turned into being humane Religion was morally uplifting, but also was the cause of the development of science and technology Sheiman also clearly recognizes that most if not all atheists have a longing for the transcendent, for an ultimate value Sheiman longs for religion but, as he writes, cannot accept the contents of what religions particularly Christianity actually teach, and that s why he remains an atheist A very interesting contribution to the theism atheism debate, and also very well written, although he gives quite a lot of quotations, without giving exact references, which I found slightly annoying Probably because it is such a nuanced account, Sheiman s book remains quite out of view I guess that Dawkins, Harris and Dennett hate this book And the media like the extremists on both sides of the debates than the nuanced voices Too bad, because I guess Sheiman is the kind of atheist that actually bring the debate further. Fascinating Utterly fascinating.The only reasons I clipped it a star were a couple of sections I skipped citing too many statistics from too many studies, and a tendency of the author to write in too college y a style I mean, I m impressed already, you don t have to use an automatic weapon spraying big words to overwhelm me.Here s a quote from the book, page 185 atheism requires faith as much as theism Interesting, interesting stuff Worth a thorough skim, at least. I found this an odd book and couldn t decide whether I really liked it or whether it was just okay Author Bruce Sheiman is an atheist He simply cannot bring himself to believe in a supernatural God Yet he feels that man is than just another animal crawling on the surface of an insignificant planet revolving around an unregarded yellow star in an obscure corner of an obscure galaxy He has a gut feeling that human existence has a purpose and a meaning He says all people feel the same way and most of them find purpose and meaning in religion He proceeds to examine religion from the outside and investigate whether, on the whole, religion has been better for mankind than no religion.The first five chapters deal with the benefits of religious belief and behaviour supplying meaning to life fostering compassion offering union with the divine offering health benefits longevity and general well being , and advancing the cause of human rights In general, I have no doubt that religion has been important and beneficial to many people in the past and present I don t agree with his claim that everybody yearns for some external, objective purpose and meaning to their lives, however I am willing to admit that I am in a very small minority in feeling that way.Sheiman then spends some chapters discussing religious and atheist extremism and how most people are in a happy middle somewhere The extremists in both camps are getting all the press, however He does lament that, in current day America at least, science has been positioned as the enemy of religion and most people find religion easier to believe than science is to understand So the majority choose religion over science he offers the surprising statistic that only about half of Americans know that the Earth revolves around the sun and that the duration of each revolution is the basis for the length of the year.His final few chapters examine the question of whether life and evolution have a purpose He concludes that they do, but tries to find a way to frame his belief without resorting to God.There is much I agree with here, including the benefits of religion to the vast majority of believers I also agree that religion is probably not going to fade away He admits that he doesn t have the answers for how atheists should reconcile themselves to religion or interact with believers I feel his attempt to reconcile science and religion are clumsy and unsatisfying I m not sure a reconciliation is possible or needed In the end, believers and atheists will just have to agree to disagree. It is almost interesting that this book was written and published than is the book itself Please see my detailed review at the following link Bruce Sheiman, in a 256 pages Alpha published book, An Atheist Defends Religion Why Humanity Is Better Off with Religion 2009 , went head on against the popular myth of new atheism movement that religion is evil and at war with science, and thus should be erased, to show that humanity is better off with religious beliefs.As an atheist, Sheiman contend not for the existence of God but for the belief in God He wrote, I want to believe this that God exists, humans are made in Imago Dei etc but, alas, I cannot Thus, even though I cannot believe in God, I still feel the need for God ix Religion, particularly Christianity, contended Sheiman, offers a transcendent moral values and duties, human rights, altruism, mental healthy, happiness and longer life, and gave birth to science.There is much to agree with Sheiman, as a Christian theist, and little to disagree e.g he makes couples of classical errors e.g confusing epistemology with ontology as he went through researches that showed both believers and nonbeliever grasp same moral values and duties, tagging Intelligent Design as Creationism and seem to hold a belief that the universe somehow was impregnated with life, thus we can find meaning and values from this notion. Interesting perspective, unapologetic. Pretty much sums up my position I really enjoyed reading this book This is, I believe, the closest thing to a neutral position that we will find in the never ending atheism vs theism debate.Sheiman has obviously done his homework he pulls quotes from probably a hundred other authors, and covers just about every topic imaginable, from the violence perpetrated by religious extremists i.e terrorists to evolution creation in the public school classroom He describes himself as an atheist sympathetic to theists, so throughout the book, he takes every attack that militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have made on religion and picks it apart He makes a case for why religion is GOOD for society and for the individual, as cases allow and is actually flourishing when it has been predicted that we would evolve away from religion.I also very much appreciated his distinction between science which is values neutral and what he calls scientism, a perversion of science that militant atheists use to justify their attack on religion I am a Christian that loves science, so it has always bothered me when people pervert science for their own agenda religious or not I sincerely hope his coining of the term scientism catches on, and religious people will begin to embrace science fully.My only issue with this book is that I often felt like I was reading a textbook It was, for the most part, very dry and sometimes difficult to read I think in the interest of reaching people, it could have been a little bit colloquial and a little less academic in its linguistic styling. `Download Pdf ↚ An Atheist Defends Religion ☚ A New Perspective Defending Religion As A Cultural Institution In The Face Of Resurgent Atheistic ThoughtFor Centuries, The Theism Atheism Debate Has Been Dominated By Two Positions Stringent Believers Committed To The Yes, There Is A God Argument, And Atheists Vehemently Driven To Repudiate Not Only God, But Also Religion As A Cultural Institution To Date, This Is The First And Only Mainstream Book In Which A Nonbeliever Criticizes Atheism And Affirms Religion An Atheist Defends Religion Persuasively Argues That Religion Is Overwhelmingly Beneficial For Humanity, Regardless Of Whether God Exists, Based On A New Paradigm Of Affirmative Dimensions That Make Up Religious Experience It Also Puts To Rest The Theory That Religion Is Behind Most Of The World S Sectarian Violence By Showing That Religion Becomes Evil When It Is Politicized Readers Will Learn They Do Not Have To Be Fundamentalists To Be Believers, And About The Value And Benefits Of Religion Itself