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Authors: Peter Boghossian

A Manual for Creating Atheists

BOOK: A Manual for Creating Atheists
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“Peter Boghossian’s techniques of friendly persuasion are not mine, and maybe I’d be more effective if they were. They are undoubtedly very persuasive—and very much needed.”

Richard Dawkins
, author of
The God Delusion

“Up to now, most atheists have simply criticized religion in various ways, but the point is to dispel it. In A Manual For Creating Atheists, “Peter Boghossian fills that gap, telling the reader how to become a ‘street epistemologist’ with the skills to attack religion at its weakest point: its reliance on faith rather than evidence. This book is essential for nonbelievers who want to do more than just carp about religion, but want to weaken its odious grasp on the world.”

Jerry Coyne
, Ph.D., author of
Why Evolution Is True

“There is nothing else on the market like this book that helps atheists talk believers out of their faith. Every atheist interested in doing so, or who talks to believers about faith at all, should read it. It’s both needed and brilliant!”

John W. Loftus
, author of
Why I Became an Atheist
The Outsider Test for Faith

“Boghossian has provided an indispensible chart book for all of us who must navigate the rising sea of magical thinking that is inundating America today.”

Victor Stenger, Ph.D.
, author of
God: The Failed Hypothesis
God and the Atom

“Excellent application of science, philosophy, and strategy for breaking through ideological and psychological barriers to freethought, all in terms anyone can understand and apply. Delightfully novel and controversial, this is the kind of thing I’ve long wanted and we need more of: bringing practical philosophy to the common man and woman.”

Richard Carrier, Ph.D.
, author of
Sense and Goodness Without God

“This book is a feisty, tough-minded attempt to undo what the author sees as the profound damage done to society by faith. There is something here that lots of people are likely to get angry about: liberals, academics, feminists, psychologists, politicians, progressives, and libertarians—and everybody in between. The book is a Molotov cocktail of ideas, arguments, policy proposals, thought experiments, encouragements, and denunciations.”

Steven Brutus, Ph.D.
, author of
Religion, Culture, History

“If we want to live in a world that is safer and more rational for all, then this is the guidebook we have been waiting for. Relying on extensive experience and a deep concern for humanity, Peter Boghossian has produced a game changer. This is not a book to read while relaxing in a hammock on a sunny afternoon. This is the how-to manual to take into the trenches of everyday life where minds are won and lost in the struggle between reason and madness.”

Guy P. Harrison
, author of
50 Simple Questions for Every Christian
Race and Reality

“Dr. Peter Boghossian’s
A Manual for Creating Atheists
is a precise, passionate, compassionate, and brilliantly reasoned work that will illuminate any and all minds capable of openness and curiosity. This is not a bedtime story to help you fall asleep, but a wakeup call that has the best chance of bringing your rational mind back to life.”

Stefan Molyneux
, host of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophy show on the Web:

“A ‘how-to’ book for the ages. Boghossian manages to take a library’s worth of information and mold it into a concise and practical tome to guide through the murky waters of magical thinking, docking the reader safely on the shores of reason, logic, and understanding. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and highly recommend it.”

Al Stefanelli
, author of
A Voice of Reason in an Unreasonable World

“This is a manual that we can use in our everyday interaction with those infected by the faith virus. The skills and concepts are both practical and learnable. As the founder and Chairman of the Board of, I recommend that all of our facilitators and leaders not only read and share this book, but actually learn how to use the questioning and dialogue techniques Dr. Boghossian illustrates. It will help you avoid common mistakes and give greater value to the conversations you have with the religious.”

Darrel Ray, Ed.D.
, author of
The God Virus
Sex and God

“The fact is, this book is perfect. It’s simple, and (most importantly) accessible. The same techniques it outlines can be used in all walks of life—from social justice issues to boardroom negotiations. It does what no other atheist/skeptic book has done in the past: it gives you somewhere to go to after you’ve read everything and said, ‘well, that was fascinating, where the hell do I go to now?’ It works. It really does.”

Jake Farr-Wharton,
author of
Letters to Christian Leaders

“Since atheism is truly Good News, it should not be hidden under a bushel. Peter Boghossian shows us how to take it to the highways and the byways. I love it!”

Dan Barker
, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation

“A book so great you can skip it and just read the footnotes. Pure genius.”

Christopher Johnson
, co-founder,
The Onion

“After the Four Horsemen comes the infantry—the army of evangelical rationalists making the world safe from faith. Boghossian’s book is both clarion call and roadmap for these heroic new battalions. Onward atheist soldiers!”

Tim van Gelder
, Ph.D., Principal, Austhink Consulting, Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne, Eureka Prizewinner for Critical Thinking

“I predict that within one week of the publication of this book it will be banned in at least 20 countries.”

Kevin Boileau
, author of
Essays on Phenomenology and the Self

“I was so impressed by your book, and have been using the techniques every time I go out against the street preachers on a Friday or Saturday night with my atheist group. The fact is, it’s perfect. It’s simple, and (most importantly) accessible. The same techniques you outline can be used in all walks of life, also, for social justice issues, to boardroom negotiations. Your book does what no other atheist/skeptic book has done in the past, it gives you somewhere to go to after you’ve read everything and said, “well, that was fascinating, where the hell do I go to now?” It works. It really does.”

Jake Farr-Wharton
, author of
Letters to Christian Leaders: Hollow Be Thy Claims
, and host of The Imaginary Friends Show

“A brave, clear book, crammed with useful insights. Boghossian’s call for honest, evidence-based thinking has implications far beyond its focus on debates about God and religious faith. A Manual for Creating Atheists is a strong challenge to ideology and propaganda, wherever we find them.”

Russell Blackford
, author of
Freedom of Religion and the Secular State
and co-author of
50 Great Myths About Atheism

Pitchstone Publishing

Durham, NC 27705

Copyright © 2013 by Peter Boghossian

All rights reserved.

To contact the publisher, please e-mail
[email protected]

Front cover design by Corey Van Hoosen,

Author photo courtesy of Steve Eltinge

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Boghossian, Peter G. (Peter Gregory)

A manual for creating atheists / Peter Boghossian ; foreword by Michael Shermer.
pages cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-939578-09-9 (pbk. : alk. paper)
ISBN: 9781939578150
1. Atheism. 2. Rationalism. 3. Faith and reason. 4. Religion—Controversial literature. I. Title.
BL2747.3.B587 2013


To Michael Shermer and Sam Harris


Foreword by Michael Shermer

Born-Again Atheist

Chapter 1: Street Epistemology

Introduces Street Epistemology and the purpose of the book: To give people the conversational tools to talk people out of their faith and help them embrace reason

Chapter 2: Faith

Clarifies and examines the terms “faith,” “atheist,” and “agnostic.” Articulates faith as an epistemology, underscores the fact that faith claims are knowledge claims, and then briefly articulates the problem and danger of faith

Chapter 3: Doxastic Closure, Belief, and Epistemology

Describes the pathology of closed belief systems, how people’s belief systems become immune to revision, argues for the idea that faithbased beliefs can be changed, and explores the study of knowledge (epistemology) as it pertains to changes in belief

Chapter 4: Interventions and Strategies

Draws from diverse peer-reviewed literature and provides broad conversational strategies readers can use when attempting to liberate subjects of their faith

Chapter 5: Enter Socrates

Details and explains how the use of the Socratic method is employed to help people abandon their faith

Chapter 6: After the Fall

Explains what goes in faith’s place once it’s been removed

Chapter 7: Anti-Apologetics 101

Explores common responses in the defense of faith and explains effective answers specifically designed to facilitate belief change

Chapter 8: Faith and the Academy

Discusses the failure of contemporary academia in dealing with faith, argues that educators should give faith-based claims no countenance in the classroom, and offers a roadmap to disabuse students of epistemological relativism

Chapter 9: Containment Protocols

Reconceptualizes the problem of faith, sets goals, looks ahead, and suggests strategies to stop the spread of faith. Includes a section on how to raise a child with a skeptical mind-set





About the Author

Other Titles from Pitchstone



In 1971, my senior year at Crescenta Valley High School in Southern California, I accepted Jesus into my heart and became a born-again Christian, repeating aloud the gospel passage from John 3:16 (emblazoned on countless sporting event banners by faithful fans): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

BOOK: A Manual for Creating Atheists
6.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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