An inspiring and provocative exploration of an alternative to traditional religion
Questions about the role of God and religion in today's world have never been more relevant or felt more powerfully. Many of us are searching for a place where we can find not only facts and scientific reason but also hope and moral courage. For some, answers are found in the divine. For others, including the New Atheists, religion is an "enemy."
But in Good Without God, Greg Epstein presents another, more balanced and inclusive response: Humanism. He highlights humanity's potential for goodness and the ways in which Humanists lead lives of purpose and compassion. Humanism can offer the sense of community we want and often need in good times and badand it teaches us that we can lead good and moral lives without the supernatural, without higher powers . . . without God.
The humanist chaplain at Harvard University offers an updated defense of humanism in response to the belligerent attacks on religion put forward by such new atheists as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Epstein’s approach to religion is respectful, and for the most part, friendly. He sees liberal Christians, Unitarian Universalists, Jews and spiritual self-help gurus, such as Oprah Winfrey, as natural allies of humanists—though at times he seems impatient for them to admit they no longer believe in a transcendent God. A student of Sherwin Wine, the late rabbi and founder of Humanistic Judaism, Epstein’s humanism is rooted in his mentor’s essentially Jewish formulations. His most impassioned argument is with megachurch pastor Rick Warren and other evangelicals who believe secularism is the enemy and a moral society impossible without a belief in God. While such an argument may be needed, Epstein’s book is marred by redundancies and a lack of organization that suggests it was hastily put together. (Nov.)