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After Atheism: Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life Paperback – January 22, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Between religion and atheism is a third way into which Vernon takes his readers. It is a challenging, cogently argued perspective.' - Good Book Guide

'For twenty years I have been waiting for a book that exposes the empty certainties of religious fundamentalism and its secular twin: scientific triumphalism. Mark Vernon has delivered that and much, much more.' - Mark Dowd, broadcaster and film-maker

'He defends ambiguity and undecidability with an almost Evangelical zeal. And because he writes with such a delicate blend of deft coolness on the one hand, and fervour on the other, many are likely to be both enchanted and persuaded by his apologetics. - Martyn Percy, Church Times

'The strength of the book...is in challenging false certainties, whether pseudo-scientific or pseudo-religious.' - Dolan Cummings, The Institute of Ideas

'This book is more than a well-reasoned argument for agnosticism; it is a timely reminder of the recognition of human limits, in all areas, and a suggestion that the possibility of living within the mystery that is the world can be a good thing.' - Robert L. Smith, Jr., International Journal of Public Theology

About the Author

Mark Vernon began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England, left an atheist, and is now a searching agnostic on such things. He is a writer and journalist, other titles including After Atheism and Wellbeing, part of the Art of Living series he edits. He writes regularly for the Guardian and the TLS, is on the faculty at The School of Life in London, and is an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck College, London. He has degrees in physics and theology, and a PhD in philosophy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2007 edition (November 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230013422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230013421
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,859,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I suspect both committed agnostics who lean toward atheism, and committed christians will find this book annoying. Vernon has been both. For me, I found it very helpful on my journey. Readable, full of insights I hadn't come across, and great quotes, eg

"He who reverently pursues the Boundless, even though he will never attain it, will himself advance by pushing forward in his pursuit" - St Hilary

He draws on philosophy of science for his chapters in this area, which may be challenging for rationalists who haven't come across this well-founded discipline. Mark Vernon has a PhD in philosophy, and deals well with various thinkers, for example there's a full chapter on "Following Socrates". He uses a light touch, and educated readers who aren't familiar with some lesser-known philosophers won't find it too difficult. He concludes with a very practical and winsome chapter on "How to be an agnostic".

Some may simply dismiss him as a "woolly liberal", but I think this would be premature and unfair. Engaging with his thoughts may allow for the discomfort of agnosticism to be a valid and solid third way. This book won't be completely satisfying to everyone, but simply for its novelty, thoughtfulness and realness this earns five stars from me.
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Format: Paperback
mixed feelings , admirably questions the dogmas of religion and strong atheism, tries a little too hard IMO to please everyone.. a personal journey, a bit fluffy for a phd , the theologian seems to recur on him.. the search for something more , good, the critique of scientism, good, the vague unknowingness , he seems a little too certain about that . worth a read, some good insights. The personal journey an interesting story
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