The Path of Reason - A Philosophy of Nonbelief

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9780875865799: The Path of Reason - A Philosophy of Nonbelief

In today's culture wars and the everyday struggle of individuals to make sense of the world around them, the question of how we can best understand the world becomes a vital one. In order to make the best decisions in life, we need the best information. But how can we go about obtaining that?

"The Path of Reason" begins with an examination of the two means that we use to understand the world faith and reason. The author compares them and shows why they are often mutually exclusive. Ultimately, faith is found wanting, while reason proves to be surprisingly valuable.

With the validity and importance of reason established, the author then uses it to examine various ideologies. Reason is applied to the questions of God, the soul, and the meaning of life, resulting in skeptical and atheistic conclusions.

Following this is a presentation of critical thinking principles, an introduction to what is involved in critical thinking. The point is made that without the avoidance of logical fallacies, one can never truly come to a clear understanding of the world.

With these tools in hand, the author leads the reader through an examination of various supernatural and New Age ideas. This is followed by a critical look at the doctrines, and certain specifics, of Christianity. All of these discussions reveal the power of reason to dissect confusing and misleading ideas and to uncover important, although sometimes difficult, truths.

The book concludes with a look at what life means for nonbelievers. Understanding the world is an entirely different problem from dealing with the world, and this section recommends attitudes that can be beneficial in a world where the veil has been lifted by the power of reason. In the end, it is found that false hopes are replaced by a newfound sense of realistic possibilities and a greater understanding of the human condition.

The audience for this book includes all of those who are interested in philosophical questions and how they apply to their own lives, those who are involved in a personal search for answers but who have not come to any definitive conclusions. Readers who agree with the conclusions in this book, specifically atheists and those who call themselves freethinkers, will find a clear and precise presentation of ideas that support their own conclusions as well as new ways of thinking about these issues. They will also obtain a greater appreciation of the stance taken by many of their opponents.
The book is ideal for college students engaged in the study of philosophy and is easily accessible to any reader at high school level or above.

"The Path of Reason" differs from other books in that:

* It places special emphasis on critical thinking and provides an introduction to what is involved in critical thinking.

* It shows the close correlation between religious skepticism and skepticism in all matters.

* While most books that include Biblical criticism emphasize Old Testament passages, "The Path of Reason" examines many sections of the New Testament, even the teachings of Jesus, revealing the circular reasoning and other forms of improper logic.

* It goes one step beyond most books on these issues by providing suggestions for dealing with the world when religious answers fail.

* The book is presented in a style that engages the reader and that is readily accessible.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Bruce A. Smith grew up as a conservative Christian with the intent of becoming a minister; he is now a public speaker espousing a skeptical and atheistic worldview.

Smith has a degree in communications has been a lifetime student of philosophy, having explored a wide range of ideologies from conservative Christianity to the Eastern religions. It is this diverse background that he draws upon to provide the thought-provoking material found in The Path of Reason.. When he is not writing philosophical essays or creating his syndicated humor column, he works as a business analyst at a computer software firm. He lives with his wife in Southern California.

Review:

Smith, a business analyst at a computer software firm who was once a conservative Christian, seeks to eliminate misconceptions about atheism and skepticism by examining faith and reason, the two means by which we evaluate our world. Writing for those who are confused by media representations and culture wars about philosophy and religion, Smith explains his personal path to atheism and skepticism as he describes the collision of faith and reason, the application of reason to such ideas as the soul, God, and meaning, critical thinking, including its fallacies, and specific precepts of skepticism. He then explains Christianity as he perceives it, analyzing such ideas as heaven and hell, the ten commandments, sex and violence, Jesus in the books of Matthew and John, the end times, prophecy and religious history, and the facts of life of a committed atheist. --Reference & Research Book News

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