21 Following
Myrto

Myrto

Currently reading

Cheaper by the Dozen
Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe - Greg Epstein I wanted to like this book, really I did. I mostly enjoyed it: it's a good counterbalance to all the work by atheist writers like Hitchens and Dawkins, who tend to be a bit inflammatory and polemical. I have asked before in my book reviews for someone to write an inspiring, deeply-felt book from a non-religious perspective, and I hoped that Epstein's was it.

It was close.

I enjoyed his emphasis on how one's lack of belief can lead to greater compassion, understanding, and empathy in one's dealings with the world. I liked the book's scope and positivity as well. I particularly enjoyed the chapter in which he uses the biblical 10 commandments to create a list of 10 guidelines for nonreligious people, and I liked his plea that nonreligious people involve themselves in interfaith projects.

But I was really disappointed in what appears to be his main project, which is convincing non-believers to join the "denomination" of secular humanism. Throughout the book, every challenge that appears to atheists seems to be solved by joining together as Humanists. It's not surprising, I guess, that the overall tone of this book is that of a minister, since Epstein is a Humanist campus minister.

OK, so joining together isn't a terrible thing, but one of the problems with atheists is that we/they tend not to join denominations. I can see Epstein's point: if atheists are ever going to overcome the huge stigma we face as non-believers, it's going to take "coming out" en masse, showing everyone that we are nice people after all.