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← Do atheists need their own bible?

Do atheists need their own bible? - Comments

remijdio's Avatar Comment 1 by remijdio

"To pretend that we can sort life out with some neat and tidy philosophy, is just deluded."

Perhaps not EVERYONE can do that but to assert that it's not possible is absurd.

"If life was that simple we would have done that centuries ago and we would be living in a perfect world."

I couldn't disagree with this more. Life could be that simple but people would have to stop chasing delusions. That is the reason that a book like this cannot, in our current social environment, be as strong as the bible.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:08:58 UTC | #613043

BowDownToGizmo's Avatar Comment 2 by BowDownToGizmo

I think there's an assumption that he is trying to replace the bible rather than demonstrate that a modern atheist can write a far better guide to morality than the cretinous bible, the latter being my best guess as to Grayling's real intentions here.

Oh and the rev "Dr" Fraser is genius...

The Good Book is a bit tame, a little "cheesy", in comparison with the "full-blooded version".

...The Bible is, after all, full of disasters ...

It is, he explains, "not a work of morality. It's actually a work of something deeper - the problem is not about just following a few rules, there's something more deeply wrong with the human being".

It's rare to see such brutal honesty and strong criticism of the bible coming from a reverend. That was his intention, right?

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:10:03 UTC | #613045

Vogon42's Avatar Comment 3 by Vogon42

It is, he [Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral] explains, "not a work of morality. It's actually a work of something deeper - the problem is not about just following a few rules, there's something more deeply wrong with the human being".

What a miserable faith this fellow has when he thinks there is something wrong with all human beings. At least, all of those who haven't swallowed his magic potion.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:17:55 UTC | #613048

TinTincognito's Avatar Comment 4 by TinTincognito

Short answer. No. Why isn't there a poll to answer?

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:33:13 UTC | #613055

NoYourGod's Avatar Comment 5 by NoYourGod

That question ("Do atheists need their own bible?") makes about as much sense as "Do banjo players need scuba gear?"

A bible is a book of stories describing a particular sect's mythology. Just as banjo players don't have scuba tanks as part of their banjo playing, atheists don't need books of mythology for their non-belief system.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:40:44 UTC | #613058

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 6 by Scruddy Bleensaver

Do atheists need their own bible?

No.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 21:44:47 UTC | #613060

jon_the_d's Avatar Comment 7 by jon_the_d

There are two types of people in the world, (no not religious and non-religious), those who need 'guidance', and those who don't.

I think many religious people struggle to cope with life without the guidance, and purpose, and reassurance that religion gives.

Many atheists on the other hand, not needing these things, view religion less emotionally and are more ready to dismiss it.

What AC Grayling may be doing here, is providing a non-religious alternative to those who do need some guidance, purpose or reassurance spelled out to them rather than having to be derived by themselves.

I've seen so many thousands of comments about what possible purpose to life there could be if you're an atheist, or how society would fall apart without religion's guidance. Once these people have a non-religious alternative, I believe many may be tempted to prise themselves free from their faith dependancy.

This book may address the main distinction between atheists and believers, and give those willing to believe an appealing alternative. We should see more non-religious people as a result, and importantly, it will not just be the independent, courageous types who often make the break, it will be the kind who are far harder to reach and to persuade.

I think we should all be supportive of this book, and, whilst it might not be a 'bible' to us, we should see its potential to entice people away from their current bible.

fingers crossed! (just kidding)

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 22:42:11 UTC | #613071

jac12358's Avatar Comment 8 by jac12358

Perhaps he did this as an exercise, but I will be a little sad to discover that he enjoyed high sales on this book. After all, we don't "need" a bible to be good anymore than we accuse religious folk of needing their bibles to cherry pick the good parts from the bad. Their moral sense precedes the bible, and so does ours, from ANY book. What is the real point of this book? If it is scholarly in some other way, and this is just a catchy tag line, then fine - but it is a bit silly and misleading. Or perhaps some theists will buy it thinking the answer and "proof" is inside to their hasty conclusion that atheists DO need a bible - if not the one the theist reads, then one to steer them down a good life. Or perhaps they assume the atheist bible will be filled with what they believe is atheist dogma. But all of these are equally wrong.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 22:42:59 UTC | #613073

Veronique's Avatar Comment 9 by Veronique

Atheists don't need a bible, absolutely not. What a silly notion.

Grayling's book is a delight in itself. He is an excellent writer, distiller of cogent thought and has a literary ability that most of us don't have.

His writings over the years have always been a lovely and absorbing read for me and many others (obviously). This one is no different. If anything the layout and pithiness of his well ordered material is even better.

I downloaded it to my Kindle and am reading with a smile on my face and an appreciation of a writing style and content that suits me right down to the ground.

A deeply satisfying read by an educated and intelligent man - head and shoulders above the desert dwellers who tried cobble together an impossibly inadequate story with so many loose ends, the sweater unravels all by itself. Give me a smart, focussed and compassionate writer any day.

Classy bloke, the Grayling. And I am very glad he can and does write.

Cheers V

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 22:43:24 UTC | #613074

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 10 by SomersetJohn

The way I see it, if this book is only of value to atheists it is a waste of trees, if it is of value to anyone who reads it with a reasonably open mind, great. I really hope it is the second.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:09:50 UTC | #613082

yvrous's Avatar Comment 11 by yvrous

I LOVE WELL

II SEEK THE GOOD IN ALL THINGS

III HARM NO OTHERS

IV THINK FOR YOURSELF

V TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

VI RESPECT NATURE

VII DO YOUR UTMOST

VIII BE INFORMED

IX BE KIND

X BE COURAGEOUS

Do we realy nead to hammered those command on a slab of rock?

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:13:30 UTC | #613084

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 12 by Scruddy Bleensaver

Comment 7 by jon_the_d :

There are two types of people in the world, (no not religious and non-religious), those who need 'guidance', and those who don't.

I think you hit on something there that I couldn't understand earlier in life. I went to church once for (the first time in my life) to please a religious girlfriend. Bored stiff by the tedium and the saccharine flavour of it all, I asked several people afterward why on earth they wanted to waste a perfectly good, free Sunday morning like that, especially since there's no mention of church-going in the Bible that I was aware of. "So that we can be good", "For moral lessons", and variations of same where the responses, from people who were astonished that I would ask such a dumb question.

I couldn't relate to it then, and I still can't today. Why would any adult human being need to be schooled in morality or need role models? Don't we all operate on a version of the Golden Rule, which predates Jesus by centuries?

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:14:52 UTC | #613085

Scoundrel's Avatar Comment 13 by Scoundrel

Comment 11 by yvrous :

Do we realy nead to hammered those command on a slab of rock?

They are better than the original ones though, you gotta admit. Also engraving them in rock would be very symbolic, lets see it inside courts. Just for how miserable it would make xtians.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:21:17 UTC | #613089

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 14 by Philoctetes

Given its so recent publication it must be near impossible that anyone commenting above has read it. What is the point of reading it? Bloody obvious I would have thought. AC Grayling is interesting enough to read, even if he is or is not giving "the answer to life the universe and everything"

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:29:33 UTC | #613090

The Plc's Avatar Comment 15 by The Plc

What is more, the King James Bible had a profound cultural impact, forming "the seed cause of democracy" which led, among other things, to the end of slavery.

What ahistorical nonsense.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 23:43:12 UTC | #613093

Luigi Vampa's Avatar Comment 16 by Luigi Vampa

What is with all of "Atheist don't need a bible" comments? You might not need guidance, but does that mean that it is worthless to read a book that talks about different ways to lead a good life? I plan on reading this book, but not because I need it to be good. That is not what philosophy is about. It's not moral commandments that one needs to follow to be good. It is simply Grayling's consideration of what constitutes a good life. Read it if you are interested in his thoughts and the collected thoughts of philosophers throughout history.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 00:11:57 UTC | #613096

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 17 by SoHelpMeReason

Comment 6 by Scruddy Bleensaver :

Do atheists need their own bible?

No.

Curses, Scruddy Bleensaver! :) This was precisely what I intended to write! Ah, well. Here goes anyway...

No.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 01:59:36 UTC | #613112

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 18 by Scruddy Bleensaver

Comment 17 by SoHelpMeReason :

Comment 6 by Scruddy Bleensaver :

Do atheists need their own bible?

No.

Curses, Scruddy Bleensaver! :) This was precisely what I intended to write! Ah, well. Here goes anyway...

No.

I actually posted too fast. I wanted to say "No. Not just no, but HELL NO!"

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 02:07:12 UTC | #613114

thatgingerscouser's Avatar Comment 19 by thatgingerscouser

I think this book is an excellent idea. Anything that adds to our armoury is a gain in the battle between reason and nonsense. I for one will be very happy to whip out Grayling's latest tome when the Johos come knocking and show them what a decent, honest and intellectually sound set of 'commandments' look like.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 02:18:17 UTC | #613116

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 20 by DocWebster

Sometimes I think this is all getting just a bit too surreal. Listening to the professor is fun though so I imagine the book might be. I don't think this book will balance any scales in this fight though, I had it brought to my attention by an acquaintance of my mom that any book not written by or any scripture not read aloud by a Voice of the Kingdom (Jehovah's Witless') was considered a product of the agents of Satan. I thought "Well hell I knew there was something off about The God Delusion, It was written by an agent of Satan". Mind you, the JW's are there own special kind of creepy but I think that particular opinion would be shared all around.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 02:57:17 UTC | #613123

majamin's Avatar Comment 21 by majamin

I think being able to express the synthesis of wisdom and intelligence across the ages is a very important and useful task, but this implies that we intend to constantly revise and reflect on this knowledge. The implications of writing a bible with this content means that we are forced to write down infallible principles which will always be true and constant. It most likely would prevent critical thinking, discussion and progress. Anyone who covets and holds firm to any one thing is always at risk of making poor decisions.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 03:10:01 UTC | #613126

Zenozzograte's Avatar Comment 22 by Zenozzograte

My two commandments

  • Do no harm
  • If it feels good, do it
  • Cheers

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 03:34:05 UTC | #613135

    Zenozzograte's Avatar Comment 23 by Zenozzograte

    Is there an agreed definition of a "Bible"?

    http://tinyurl.com/4389wy9

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 03:36:30 UTC | #613136

    aquilacane's Avatar Comment 24 by aquilacane

    No.

    Humanity needs more intelligent, thoughtful people.

    Maybe religious people need an atheist book of recommendations. Then, once atheist, they should throw it away and think for themselves.

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 03:48:07 UTC | #613140

    ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 25 by ZenDruid

    but...but..

    We already have the Hitchhiker's Guide!

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 04:13:20 UTC | #613147

    zengardener's Avatar Comment 26 by zengardener

    Those who pieced together the Bible, not to mention others who produced much of the Greek and Roman philosophy AC Grayling references, were able to draw together countless diverse themes which we would now consider to be separate academic subjects. Psychology and theology, philosophy and poetry melded with what Vernon calls "myth-making", tapping into myths that were already being told.

    Is it me or is trying to make it sound like this was done on purpose?

    I Just finished Bart Ehrman's latest, and it sound as if the motives of the authors of the bible were much more narrow.

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 04:40:24 UTC | #613153

    Lion IRC's Avatar Comment 27 by Lion IRC

    Atheist Bible, Atheist 10 Commandments, Atheist Manifesto

    LOL

    ...that "non-stamp collector" analogy is slowly slipping away.

    What Mr Grayling doesnt seem to "get" is that the very act of offering up, what I would have to say are pretty sentimental, motherhood statements, intended specifically for atheists, is effectively an admission (assertion?) that atheists need to be "guided" in these matters.

    What an insult to the presumed intelligence of New Atheism. Is there really an atheist constituency which hungers for a new "Moses" preaching from Mt Sinai as it were...

    ..."Think for yourself...take responsibility...do your utmost...?

    And what would Nietzsche make of a person telling him to "be kind"?

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 04:51:36 UTC | #613157

    RomeStu's Avatar Comment 28 by RomeStu

    I agree with the idea that most atheists do not need a "bible", however I also believe that many religious people are in search of easy answers. As children the easiest "how to be good" answers often appear to come from the dominant religion of the area (call it saturation marketing if you like), and the indoctrination is done.

    Therefore a book which offers the young, or the easily-led, a different, more rational set of equally easy answers can only be a good thing.

    The Rev Dr Fraser cites the stories of heroism and tragedy in the bible as valuable lessons, but these lessons can be learned from any ancient mythology. Read Job to seet that "god" can be every bit as cruel and spiteful as Hera on a bad day.

    Do atheists need the reinforcement of a "bible" equivalent? I certainly hope not. Can this book be a tool in the struggle for reason to become the norm? I truely hope so.

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 05:32:25 UTC | #613165

    maria melo's Avatar Comment 29 by maria melo

    «What is more, the King James Bible had a profound cultural impact, forming "the seed cause of democracy" which led, among other things, to the end of slavery.»

    How ?

    ( I actually don´t know nothing about it and cannot figure out.)

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 05:47:50 UTC | #613170

    zeerust2000's Avatar Comment 30 by zeerust2000

    I thought we already had one.........The God Delusion, at least insofar as we need one at all.

    Fri, 08 Apr 2011 06:21:15 UTC | #613175