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Atheist Delusions

The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies
Narrated by: Ralph Morocco
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

In this provocative book one of the most brilliant scholars of religion today dismantles distorted religious "histories" offered up by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and other contemporary critics of religion and advocates of atheism. David Bentley Hart provides a bold correction of the New Atheists’s misrepresentations of the Christian past, countering their polemics with a brilliant account of Christianity and its message of human charity as the most revolutionary movement in all of Western history.

Hart outlines how Christianity transformed the ancient world in ways we may have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring great dignity on human beings, subverting the cruelest aspects of pagan society, and elevating charity above all virtues. He then argues that what we term the "Age of Reason" was in fact the beginning of the eclipse of reason’s authority as a cultural value. Hart closes the book in the present, delineating the ominous consequences of the decline of Christendom in a culture that is built upon its moral and spiritual values.

©2009 David Bentley Hart (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Delusional

I was hoping to get a sensible argument from a theists perspective but instead there was no reasoned thinking or argument, just preaching effectively. Really struggled to get to the end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ted
  • 01-12-14

A Conversion Experience.

This book has done much to reset 50 years of misinformation that I have had about Christianity. Contrary to some reviewers, I think the editor was right to add "Atheist Delusions" onto the rest of the title. Having only the "Christian Revolution" part would have sounded like just another mundane book written for Christians. The author does make the case for why it was a revolution, but he also got into the fight against the people who use "The God Delusion" to make their point.
And I'm glad he was a bit snarky at times. The pretensions of modernity need a take-down. And they got it in this book.

I listened to this book three times. You simply can't get it once through. The narrator sounded robotic at first but his pace and enunciation were appropriate to the complexity of content.

A gripe on audio book design: Why can't Audible make its chapters match the book chapters?
This is a confusing UI issue that would be easy to fix.

16 people found this helpful

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  • timbawolf
  • 23-10-19

An Endorsement (and a Caution)

Imagine an Orthodox monk—his long, gray beard hanging gracefully over his ornate Schema—beating the crap out a middle school-aged atheist neckbeard and taking his lunch money.

That's what this book is, for better or for worse.

Nobody has a higher view of the scholarly emminence of David Bently Hart than David Bently Hart, and he turns his full powers against the intellectual lightweights of the New Atheist movement (and, eventually, their fellow anti-Christians among the Roman empire's pagan intellegentsia) in this apologetic essay. With extensive references both to secondary annd primary sources, Hart defends the revolutionary status of the Christian Revolution, both in the present and the past. To both the self-comforting myths of modern "science educators" and to the dishonest narratives of pagan virtue, Hart shows no mercy, brutally exposing their false foundations and historical distortions. While the historical nonsense peddled by New Atheists and modern apologists for Roman paganism certainly deserves his scorn, Hart could probably stand to learn a little from the early Christians himself.

To put it bluntly, Hart is a colossally arrogant person, imputing both intellectual and moral idiocy to everyonee who disagrees with him in the slightest—whether atheist, pagan, or Christian. There isn't a charitable bone his body. He's so thoroughly convinced of his own scholarly powers that he's often led into the antics of a schoolyard bully, relying more on name-calling and emotional appeals than anything else (see: his responses to critical reviiews of his recent book on universalism).

So, take everything Hart says with a pinch of salt. Atheist Delusions is a fun read, and an inspiring one at that, but remember that Hart brings the same sledghammer that he lays on the Dawkins crowd to every fight, and not every disagreement is a boulder that needs to be smashed.

Some are nails that just need a little tap.

3 people found this helpful

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  • A. Holoday
  • 04-06-19

Excellent book, boring narrator

Turn the narration speed up to 1.25 for this to be tolerable. This book is an triumphant look back at the past of Christianity, how it changed the world's conscience forever and how that is now slipping away.

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  • anonymous123
  • 20-09-17

Choppy but thought provoking

I think there was a bit too much needless polemic in places, and some eye-rolling exaggerations (although I agree with the author in large measure), and places where the author flat-out contradicted himself in the present book and in another of his works, The Experience of God. I disapprove of maintaining those with whom you disagree are illogical, then resorting to illogic yourself simply to make a rhetorical point. There was no need for cheap shots in a book with a premise as important as Hart's. The narrator was a bit boring, too monotone, and mispronounced an annoying number of words that should have been simple to say correctly. Just a little bit better direction, proofing, and reference to a dictionary would have prevented that.

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  • Bryson Taylor
  • 27-09-17

Brilliant, but ...

David Bentley Hart is amazing and erudite, bringing together vast swathes of history and theology to build a coherent and inspiring picture of Early Christianity.

BUT Ralph Morocco reads like Grumpy Siri. I could just barely stand listening to him. Badly needs to be re-produced.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Garrett
  • 31-07-16

Great material, dreadful narration

The material alone makes this worth the listen, which is good because the narration is dreadfully monotonous. Hart brings his characteristic wit and slightly pretentious tone to examine what makes western culture what it is. He argues for more historical and philosophical literacy so that we can at least acknowledge the importance of Christianity on our culture and ourselves, whether or not we believe it.

I highly recommend it, but the narration is just so bad. Maybe buy the actual book and read it if that's an option for you.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Brad Isaak
  • 10-03-16

transformational genius

absolutely wonderful and engaging. a must read for any intellectual person of faith (I would highly recommend this as a graduate student)

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  • RI in Canada
  • 14-10-15

Every thinking person needs to read this

If you have read the likes of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, you owe it to yourself (and the world) to also read Atheist Delusions. In it, Bentley Hart uses a wide-ranging review of western church (and other) history to reveal the fundamental shallowness of the Dawkins, Dennett crew. He is, at the same time, critical of the many abuses that have occurred in the name of Christianity and the organized church, but also debunks the arguments of the angry atheists. At the same time, he opens the question of what will come of our society as we slowly devolve away from the Christian ideals that have shaped the west into a society that cares for the poor, the weak, and the outcast.
The narrator is TERRIBLE!! However, if you listen at 1.5 speed, then it isn't so bad.

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  • Steven White
  • 31-05-20

Jude for the 21st century

(This review uses a variety of insults from the first few pages to illustrate the tone of the book.)

This is not a book that should detain anyone for very long. The author explicitly states that he makes "no attempt here to convert anyone to anything" and in context convert clearly means "convince." Instead, as he describes it, it is a personal essay, basically a recklessly ambitious undergraduate essay, from a top tier student of the Jude and 2 Peter school of argument by invective. It mostly serves to prove that Christians can be just as nasty as any other person.

What about the actual content? It is basically a bunch of empty generalities, vacuously true. Here is an example: "some kill because they have no faith and hence believe all things are permitted to them" Wait, that is wrong. Having no faith doesn't imply you think you are permitted to do anything. Maybe he made a mistake and the "hence" there is by accident due to his rhetorical recklessness. But a better explanation is that Hart has a talent for intellectual caricature that greatly exceeds his mastery of logic.

Will you learn anything from reading this book? No. If you believe that "ethical monotheism . . . has been ["but for" causally] responsible for most of the wars and bigotry in history" then you are an idiot and the book will let you know that but it won't help you understand why due to Hart's embarrassing incapacity for reasoning.

I bought this book and then returned it.

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  • S
  • 22-10-19

Complex but not an easy listen

This is Grad School vocabulary, which the reader doesn't always pronounce correctly. Interesting information though.