4 out of 4 stars
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Breaking Up With Jesus is a non-fiction book written by Steve Dow using the first person. As the title suggests, the author, a 45-year-old, was once a believer but then realized he was an atheist. Dow asserts he decided to write the book mainly for himself, and he wanted to get his thoughts into the public sphere.
The author narrates his religious upbringing in a church-going Catholic family. His birth was difficult, and his parents gave him the middle name Jude because his mother would frequently pray to St. Jude during her pregnancy. This episode was so important to him that his oldest son’s middle name is also Jude. During the author’s youth, he even came to believe that he could become a priest. Later, however, the author narrates his struggle to accept his atheism; he dives into the “theism vs. atheism” debates he contemplated during his early 40s.
This well-researched book has several positives worth mentioning. Firstly, it is erudite and cleverly written, and the author’s candid and down-to-earth writing style was what I liked the most about it. Dow does a thorough examination of religion, which I appreciated. His analyses of the meaning of atheism and correlated concepts and terms such as agnostic and anti-theist were absorbing. For instance, the author goes back to ancient Greece to tell readers about Diagoras of Melos, possibly the first known atheist, condemned for being a nonbeliever. He also explores how Socrates’ failure to honor the Athenian gods played a part in his execution.
Additionally, I enjoyed how the author delves into the link between political power and the demonization of atheists. Dow provides many examples of religious texts that vilify nonbelievers. He skillfully explored how the Catholic Church’s violent killings of non-Catholics over the centuries constitute an integral part of its history, visiting and clarifying terms like heresy, apostasy, and schism.
Finally, the author’s views on creating a sustainable world with more free time for the arts and exploratory endeavors were inspiring; he maintains that we can create our own garden of Eden. He feels we should add to the human journey, passing the torch to the next generation the best way we can, and I couldn’t agree more.
In closing, I rate Breaking Up With Jesus 4 out of 4 stars; I found no negatives worth mentioning. It seems professionally edited, for I found no errors in it. I recommend it to open-minded readers interested in philosophical discussions of atheism. If you are an orthodox Christian or the topic bothers you in any way, you might want to steer clear of it, though.
Breaking Up With Jesus
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