Reviews

New book on secularism, politics, religion and freedom

DO religion and its institutions subvert reason and progress in modern life? In his introduction to Secularism: Politics, Religion and Freedom, Andrew Copson presents a holistic and hard-hitting case showing the importance of keeping religion out of politics. The CEO of Humanists UK, Copson, above, is accustomed to speaking to ideologically diverse audiences and his […]

A review of Yuval Noah Harari latest book, Homo Deus

Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian who had a best-seller with Sapiens: A brief history of humankind (2014; both books appeared originally in Hebrew, 2011 and 2014).   This follow-up, Homo Deus, suggests what the future may hold for our species; may, not will: Harari is not a prophet, though one has a passing thought […]

Was Einstein a freethinker?

Albert Einstein has been one of my Humanist heroes since my adolescence. However an American biography by Walter Isaacson – Genius: Einstein – His Life and Universe –  gives us an opportunity  to re-examine this icon. This recently re-released book was the basis of a recent TV series. Einstein certainly didn’t believe in a personal god […]

Big Gods …

Professor John Radford, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of East London, reviews  Big Gods: How religion transformed co-operation and conflict by Ara Norenzayan. I initially held back a little from reading this book, partly because I’ve never been very keen on gods, especially big ones, and the title suggested a more favourable view […]

The Jesus Delusion

Science writer Steuart Campbell reviews The Jesus Delusion: How the Christians created their God  (‘The demystification of a world religion through scientific research’) by Heinz-Werner Kubitza. Not all freethinkers want to know in what way Christians are deluded about their religion (it’s taken for granted). But those that do will find the answers here. A […]

The Freedom of Will

Stuart Hartill reviews a novel by Kenneth Clatterbaugh, pictured above. Will Tillett is young, Texas born but abandoned soon after and raised in small town Louisiana by a kindly aunt and uncle, the fourth generation of an American preacher dynasty. As the novel starts, his uncle’s traditional ministry is losing its last punters to the […]

Coming soon: part one of ‘The Cartoon History of Humanism’

When Dale Debakscy, above, made his first contribution to the Freethinker a couple of years back, I jumped with joy. Here was one humanist with an encyclopaedic grasp of humanism’s philosophical and ethical roots from the ancient Greeks onward, also with a fresh, informed and thoughtful take on current affairs. Most important of all, he […]

Brief Candle in the Dark reveals a ‘softer’ Dawkins

Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science is the second volume of Richard Dawkins’ autobiography. The title is a combination of Macbeth’s famous speech and Carl Sagan referring to science as a candle in the dark. I am pleased to report that there is much more of interest to freethinkers than in his […]

Mythologizing Jesus

  Science writer Steuart Campbell reviews Mythologizing Jesus: From Jewish Teacher to Epic Hero by Dennis R MacDonald. Did the first Gospel writers raid the Homeric epics of Greek literature to turn Jesus into a super-heroic figure to compel their readers into life-changing decision to follow Jesus? Dennis R MacDonald thinks they did and that […]

François Cavanna’s grim prediction

In a call to arms to atheists, François Cavanna, above, founder of Charlie Hebdo who died a year ago aged 90, once ordered non-believers not to be ‘too discreet, too timid, too resigned!’ More than 20 years ago he warned that, if atheists stood idly by, complacent in the face of increasing Islamic fundamentalism, other […]