by Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse

Prometheus Books, $20.00, 219 pages

Sometimes titles are ironic on accident. Reasonable Atheism happens to be one of those books. The book purports to attempt two things. The first is to show that atheism, despite what many religious people say, can be a cause for moral judgment. The second is that it hopes to act as a bridge so that the religious and the atheists can converse about ethics and morality. Although it succeeds on the first magnificently, it fails just as magnificently on the second.

Reasonable Atheism points out several times that a “No Reasonable Argument,” where the other side is painted as uninformed, ignorant, or irrational, is at best simple-minded and usually dangerous. It then proceeds to paint the various religions as  uninformed, ignorant, or irrational, even going so far as to show why Hell should not exist, while showing atheists as paragons of virtue. For something that is attempting to build a bridge, that is a strange path to take, and offensive to the religious side of things. It’s a great book for an atheist with an ax to grind or a religious person looking to justify his dislike of atheists, but for anyone looking for something that compares the two sides, this is not it.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim