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Summary

Sunday Times best seller. 

A meditation on the importance of atheism in the modern world - and its inadequacies and contradictions - by one of Britain's leading philosophers.

'When you explore older atheisms, you will find some of your firmest convictions - secular or religious - are highly questionable. If this prospect disturbs you, what you are looking for may be freedom from thought.' 

For a generation now, public debate has been corroded by a narrow derision of religion in the name of an often very vaguely understood 'science'. John Gray's stimulating and extremely enjoyable new audiobook describes the rich, complex world of the atheist tradition, a tradition which he sees as in many ways as rich as that of religion itself, as well as being deeply intertwined with what is so often crudely viewed as its 'opposite'. 

The result is an audiobook that sheds an extraordinary and varied light on what it is to be human and on the thinkers who have, at different times and places, battled to understand this issue.

©2018 John Gray (P)2018 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"A highly readable, fascinating book that jerks the debate on religion versus atheism right out of its crusted rut into the light of serious intellectual scrutiny." (Observer)

What listeners say about Seven Types of Atheism

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Reader in need of a director

Guy Mott almost ruined this for me, his monotone declamatory style is not up the subtleties of Gray's writing. Irony is ignored and the obvious jokes are bulldozed over. All this would be fine if he could pronounce key words like "platonism". Surely during the recording there was someone directing and someone editing? Did no one pick up the numerous errors? Only Gray's erudition and clear writing style pull this through.

5 people found this helpful

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Urbane review of a contentious subject

Wisely dismissing the "new atheists" right at the start, the author gives us an urbane and well researched tour around a variety of atheisms over the ages. As a life-long non believer, I found to my surprise that this book helped me to better understand the religious impulse, which the author likens to music or poetry rather than a failed attempt at science.

Please note that there are two authors called John Grey in print. This one did not write "Men are from Mars etc."

3 people found this helpful

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The wrong reader

The reader is not a bad reader, in fact, I think he’s a good reader, but he is the wrong reader for this book. His declamatory tone is too overbearing for this subject matter and his decision to add a nasal tone to all ‘quotes’ is just irritating.

Nevertheless, I am grateful that finally John Gray - the one from earth, not Mars or Venus - is available on Audible. Can you know work Bach through his catalogue - I’ll buy them all - preferably with another narrator, but that is a secondary consideration.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting but irritating reader

I’m enjoying the content. Gray puts atheism in context dispelling myths and offering a much more intelligent and subtle understanding than the Dawkins, Hitchens variety. But the reader irritatingly mid-pronounces words, to my mind anyway. Logos, Platonism, Utilitarianism, eschatology all come with odd renderings which grate on me. But i’m learning a lot from this very rewarding thinker so no regrets about choosing it.

2 people found this helpful

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A bit wandering

Considering that it is very short, quite a lot of this book is not about seven types of atheism.
It is interesting and worth a listen, but does not stay on topic.

The narration is a trifle strained.

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  • JP
  • 20-03-21

Great listen

Fantastic thought provoking book. Really enjoyed it and will look for more by same author.

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Magnificent

I noticed that there are a few mispronunciations, such as 'utilitArianism' and 'George SantaNAYa' but I think most readers will understand, and could refer to the book if this is a real issue.

The book itself is fantastic, I have already ready it twice and continue to listen to it.

John Gray's astounding depth and breadth of knowledge of the twentieth century invaluable. So broad is it that one gets a vivid sense of the various 'family trees' of thought, how they've inherited and informed each other. So deep is it that if one of the individuals (such as in this book) ever did meet another, you can bet that Gray knows about it, and has already found any correspondences between them, however fleeting. Often it is nothing more than a mere muttered comment in a brief exchange or diary entry that offers the most insight into a person's world view, and Gray has spent his life gathering these gems for us.

If you haven't, I would recommend listening to John Gray speak (just search online for talks, lectures, etc.) as well, to get a sense of his humour, which won't come across so much through other narrators.

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It's okay I guess, you could read something else.

When you start a book on athism with "memes aren't a good theory so I ain't gonna cover any of that" without properly combating the foundations of the theorty then proceed to talk about a list of broad types of athiest as if they are exaustive. you know you've skipped over a very large portion of athiest thought.

I found myself thinking that the central themes of this book were kinda obvious but pointless owing to that this book uses a definition of athiest that isn't really the common understanding of it.

There is some value in this book in that it raises and highlights many usefull questions about what is moral and is there any definates.

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Appealing narration

I was very interested in the subject covered in this book and was looking forward to listening ..... and the narration began

Lacks subtlety or any change of tone. Rather ironically it sounds like a strident sermon on the topic. An unpleasant listen after a few minutes and ruins what is a thought provoking topic by assaulting the ears ..... or maybe that’s how its meant to be.

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  • Aamir Niazi
  • 01-01-19

Great historical perspective

the conclusions logic is sound but the conclusion is not comforting in the least and probably that is the point.