Imagine No Superstition by Stephen F. Uhl, Ph.D. Golden Rule Publishers, Oro Valley, AZ, March 2007, 190 pp, Paper ISBN 13 - 978-0-9793169-0-6, ISBN 10 - 0-9793169-0-1 Reviewed by Marilyn LaCourt (Author The Prize: a screenplay aboutÃÂ bullies and victims) Steve Uhl talks like a regular guy, but make no mistake; he s noÃÂ ordinary man. Dr. Uhl, a former Catholic priest who became an atheistÃÂ psychologist, translates his vast knowledge of theology andÃÂ psychology into common language, thus creating a practical antidoteÃÂ for the poisonous fuzzy thinking that has permeated cultures sinceÃÂ men created gods in their own images. Dr. Uhl clearly and compassionately describes the futility of prayer,ÃÂ disclosing personal experience that makes him one of us, the common,ÃÂ ordinary readers.ÃÂ He discloses his own loving indoctrination by hisÃÂ mother and his own struggle with faith vs. reason. Using reasonÃÂ seasoned with a generous sprinkling of earthy humor, he translatesÃÂ his intellectual understanding of scripture and psychology into easyÃÂ language of today s vernacular and makes a clear case for theÃÂ unlikelihood of a supernatural. At first I thought, this is wonderful reading for skeptics on fences,ÃÂ a self-help book, if you will. It makes it easy for the reader to beÃÂ patient with self and others in our pluralistic society, explainingÃÂ how everyone unlearns old biases or myths and gains insight at his orÃÂ her own pace. Imagine No Superstition is all of the above. But wait,ÃÂ there s more. Chapter 9 alone, Life Without God in the United States , makesÃÂ Imagine No Superstition well worth the read.ÃÂ This is where Uhl s,ÃÂ critical thinking, creativity, common sense and vision converge. IfÃÂ Dr. Uhl were running for president I would vote for him. Imagine No Superstition furnishes the ammunition to fearlessly faceÃÂ the biggest elephant in the room and as the subtitle states: TheÃÂ Power to Enjoy Life With No Guilt, No Shame, No Blame. Marilyn LaCourt --Marilyn LaCourt (Author The Prize) --Marilyn LaCourt, Author The Prize
Review of Stephen Frederick Uhl s Imagine No Superstition (Golden Rule Publishers, March 2007, ISBN 9780979316906) by Mary Jean Clemens I was a truth believing Protestant until I was 18 years old. Then I converted to Catholicism after another course of instructions in Christian truth at age 20. After 28 more years, I found that I could no longer accept either set of the old dogmatic truths. What a relief it was for me to read Dr. Stephen Uhl s little book, Imagine No Superstition: The Power To Enjoy Life With No Guilt, No Shame, No Blame. It was really comforting for me to find such authoritative understanding of my personal journey. The book flows through the serious subject of religion and the battles between faith systems; it accomplishes this with clear knowledge, common sense and fitting humor that had me laughing out loud at times. Dr. Uhl, a former Catholic priest who left the church and became a psychologist, shows that he is very well qualified to deal with matters spiritual and psychological. He shows both patience and understanding in his guidance dealing with life s important issues. Early in the book, Dr. Uhl, an experienced clinical hypnotist, shows how prayer that is effective is very similar to ordinary wish fulfillment with self-hypnosis playing a major role. He shows clearly how the wonderfully empowering mechanism of hypnosis makes it easy for the praying believer to accomplish more than s/he thought s/he could. The believer then finds it very easy to attribute this accomplishment to God or some Higher Power. Dr. Uhl deals with an extensive list of reasons why most people believe in God, Allah and the like. Then after a thorough analysis of the most generally accepted of the proofs of God s existence, he admits that thinking man, confined to this universe and limited to knowledge of only this universe, cannot know if there is something outside this universe. So there can be no conclusive logical proof of God s existence or non-existence. Philosophical agnosticism is the logical result. At the same time, witnessing the problem of evil and the standard painful economy of the fox crushing the rabbit while the big fish eat the little fish, the author admits that there cannot possibly be a loving, compassionate, caring personal God. This, of course, leads him to reasonable, pragmatic atheism. Such a practical atheism is strongly reinforced by the sometimes bizarre and quite commonly contradictory beliefs of those who believe so strongly that they know the existence and the mind of their own God. Societies down through the centuries have used their Gods to help them commit genocide after genocide. Likewise down through the centuries almost all but one of these thousands of Gods have been cast out of existence. Dr. Uhl cites many examples throughout history and to the present where faith has led mankind into devastating consequences. Yet the sectarian believers in only one God continue to kill each other and distrust deeply those who cannot accept such divisive sectarian dogmas today. After showing an impressive series of ways human life would be better without any superstitious mysteries or sectarian wars, this outstanding book concludes that nothing works as well for human freedom and happiness as the tolerant and completely natural Golden Rule: Treat others as you would reasonably want and expect to be treated if your roles were reversed. When one spouse makes the other look good, that caring love washes right back on the first spouse; when that caring family helps the neighbors, the neighbors help right back and the neighborhood improves for everyone. Such reasonable caring answers clearly the popular but shallow question: How can you be a good person if you don t believe in God? Imagine No Superstition is small in size but impressively powerf --Mary Jean Clemens
About the Author
After some seven years of meeting conventional expectations as a Benedictine priest-monk, he developed from dependent believer to independent skeptic. This necessarily led to a divorce form the priesthood and the church. After a few years of teaching secondary mathematics, he married another teacher. He could then afford to get a Ph.D. in Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago.
He developed a thriving private practice of psychology in the suburban Chicago area. This truly enriching life for both clients and therapist continued until retirement in 1993.
Sometime during the subsequent years of fulltime traveling, he decided to write about some of his checkered experiences and insights. He did this for two reasons: to help others get much more out of life and to make amends for the mistakes he had preached in his young days of naive credulity.