Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: "God No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales" by Penn Jillette

God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical TalesGod, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first heard of "God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales", I wondered if Penn Jillette wrote the book himself or had a ghost writer take on the literary workload. But as I read the introduction, I realized I heard Penn's voice in my head, reciting the words to me as I went and that settled that question.

"God, No!" is an interesting book because it arose from a conversation Penn had with Glenn Beck, in which Mr. Beck challenged Penn to think about an atheist Ten Commandments. Penn divides this book in chapters representing his version of atheist Ten Commandments, with rambling bits and pieces of his life scattered in between as a conversation he has with the reader about why he believes as he does.

One of the most entertaining and thought-provoking sections of the book actually is the introduction. Penn discusses how he defines atheism with the phrase "I don't know", rebuts the claims that atheists must be arrogant and proud to pretend to know all the answers, and sets the tone for humorous but thought-provoking dialogue that follows in the rest of the book.

The good parts of "God No!" include all of the ramblings and story tellings as Penn shares his life with the reader. For being a self-described arrogant asshole, Penn comes across as a humble man with a bit more self-awareness that most people have.

The bad parts of this book include... nothing. A few times I wondered where a narrative was going, but in the end it was the rambling bits that I like the most.

Now I imagine that anyone who does not identify as an atheist might be offended at the title and concept behind "God No!" But before you decide not to read this, let me present the lines from the very beginning of the book:
If god (however you perceive him/her/it) told you to kill your child, would you do it?

If your answer is no, in my booklet you're an atheist. There is doubt in your mind. Love and morality are more important to you than your faith.

If your answer is yes, please reconsider.
If your answer is no, I strongly urge you to read this book. Whether or not you change your mind, I guarantee you an entertaining and thoughtful read.

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