BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
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Nick Wynne, PhD; Executive director of the Florida Historical Society
"Guy P. Harrison has written a persuasive and frequently humorous book about an important topic . . .This thoughtful work should be read by religious practitioners, political leaders, and the general public and should be taught as a foundation for explaining the role of religion in society. I recommend it heartily."
James A. Haught, author of 2,000 Years of Disbelief and editor of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette
"Deep wisdom and patient explanations fill this excellent book. The author--a journalist with worldwide experience and thorough scientific knowledge--doesn't ridicule supernatural beliefs. He seems fond of believers. But he quietly employs logic to show that invisible gods, devils, heavens, hells, miracles and the like belong in the superstitious past, and cannot be taken seriously by educated modern people."
Frans de Waal, leading primatologist, author of Our Inner Ape (Riverhead, 2005)
"Religion is as universal as language, which hints at a biological basis. Why did our ancestors evolve an attraction to the supernatural? The fundamental question is not whether this attraction is rational or not - which is the subject of a dozen recent provocative books -- but what exactly faith delivers to those who possess it. The present book treats this question respectfully, listening to the answer of the believers themselves, which seems an excellent place to start."
Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist Scientific American, author of Why Darwin Matters
"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but now Guy Harrison has given us 50 ways to believe in God, or not if you care to read this engaging and enlightening book in light of what it says about the cultural and psychological power of belief. If the number one predictor of which God someone believes in is what culture and time period they happened to have been born in, what does that say about the actual existence (or not) of a deity? Read this book to explore the many and diverse reasons for belief."
Many books that challenge religious belief from a skeptical point of view take a combative tone that is almost guaranteed to alienate believers, or they present complex philosophical or scientific arguments that fail to reach the average reader. Guy P. Harrison argues that this is an ineffective way of trying to encourage people to develop critical thinking about religion. In this unique approach, Harrison concisely presents fifty commonly heard reasons that people often give for believing in a god. Then he raises legitimate questions regarding these reasons, showing in each case that there is much room for doubt.
From religion as the foundation of morality to the authority of sacred books, the compelling religious testimony of influential people, near-death experiences, theories from intelligent design, and much more, Harrison respectfully describes each rationale for belief and then politely shows the deficiencies that any good skeptic would point out. He also offers something in return--a hopeful and optimistic view of science, the universe, and humanity without the divisiveness, prejudice, and hatred caused by conflicting religious doctrines.
Drawing on his experiences as a nonbeliever and his extensive travels around the world, Harrison makes poignant arguments that are sure to inspire thought-provoking discussions. Whether you're a believer, a complete skeptic, or somewhere in between, you'll find his review of traditional and more recent arguments for the existence of gods refreshing, approachable, and enlightening.
About the Author
Guy P. Harrison is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in history and anthropology. He currently lives in the Cayman Islands where he is a columnist and travel writer for a national newspaper. He has won several international awards for his writing and photography.