Good Without God

Good Without God

What A Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

Book - 2009
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Author Greg Epstein, the Humanist chaplain at Harvard, offers a world view for nonbelievers that dispenses with the hostility and intolerance of religion prevalent in national bestsellers like God is Not Great and The God Delusion. Epstein's Good Without God provides a constructive, challenging response to these manifestos by getting to the heart of Humanism and its positive belief in tolerance, community, morality, and good without having to rely on the guidance of a higher being.--From publisher description.
Publisher: [New York] : William Morrow, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061670114
Branch Call Number: 171.2 EPS 2009
Characteristics: xviii, 250 p. : 24 cm

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samm1029
Dec 22, 2013

This is a really thoughtful book from an author who personally really wants to define what Humanism IS, not only defining it vis-a-vis an absence of a belief in God and an afterlife. He also explains how Humanism interacts with, or co-exists with Unitarian Universalism, and Reform Judaism, including the history of those churches/movements. If you are an atheist that is curious about what sort of community there might be out there of like minded people, this is a good read. If you are a believer that is maybe curious about atheists, this book could be interesting to you as well.

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jlcaine
May 06, 2011

Clear and concise, this book explains many of the reasons faith in a god is not needed to be moral or ethical. Although word choice and order could be improved in increase a sense of literary flow, the book does the job just fine of laying out the case for Humanism. Insights for me included the idea that goodness can only be defined in terms its benefit to humans (i.e. a "good" pen is one that writes well for the human using it; a "bad" dog is one that annoys its human owner, etc.) and that "dignity" is the standard by which we decide what is right and what is wrong. Whatever increases the dignity, or self-empowerment, of humans is considered by the author to be good. This is an interesting departure from the common "do no harm" motif we find in many books on Humanism. Although the athour waxes on needlessly in many parts of the work, overall the book was a good read. (Caution: Prepare for dirty, confused, interested and otherwise types of looks from people on the bus and elsewhere as you take this out to read it. People have tended to have a strong opinion - one way or the other - about the title and were not hesistant to make it known!)

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