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Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided Hardcover


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Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided + The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593761600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593761608
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,604,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Ronald Aronson demonstrates that atheism represents much more than what one does not believe: that it is the precondition for a generous humanism. The two closing chapters are models of stoicism at its best." –Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and in Practice, and The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

"Here's an interesting new book . . . I recommend the book, not because I expect it to be convincing to everyone, but because it clearly makes the case for an interesting kind of conversation, and gives his side of it." –Taner Edis, author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science, Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism, Science and Nonbelief, and An Illusion of Harmony: Science And Religion in Islam

"Despite my occasional disagreements, overall Aronson gives us much to reflect on in this book, and much that will ring true for secularists looking for an affirmative naturalistic philosophy. There are many, many insightful observations on humanity, society, ethics and existence, organized by the particular question of life at issue, whether it be death, hope, responsibility, knowledge or social obligation. All this makes the book eminently worthwhile." –Tom Clark, Founder and director Center For Naturalism

"The Italian political theorist Antonio Gramsci wrote from his prison cell in Mussolini's Italy that, 'The challenge of modernity is to live a life without illusions, without becoming disillusioned.' In Living Without God, it seems to me, Aronson has admirably met that challenge. –Doug Ireland, New Humanist

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I have been an atheist for a very, very long time.
Victorbooks
Aronson believes (as did Sartre and Marcuse) that a key aspect of the good life is to be a good citizen willing to engage in the fight against social injustices.
Jim Farmelant
If that is a part of why you might buy this book, it's an excellent purchase.
Richard C. Burrows

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By E. Gallion on December 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book, and it's terrific. It goes beyond the debunking of religion books to discuss how we go about understanding the world and society, and our place in both without the use of religious references, explanations and thought processes. It presents a very positive and liberating view of a truly secular worldview - a better world. I highly recommend it to those who liked the debunking books, and also to those with religious beliefs who recognize the need for and benefits of a humanistic/secular society.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Richard C. Burrows on March 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I almost seriously misjudged this book. From the title I expected a rather different book; and when I realized that the author was planning to tell us about his ideas of how to live without god but included seemingly no awareness of previous work (for example that of Paul Kurtz, who's not mentioned anywhere), I found myself significantly discouraged. Then, too, the author's style of presenting a set of observations and then seemingly to refute them with another set, along with his tendency to want to "see all aspects" of an issue, can create some confusion and at times become quite tedious.
Fortunately for me, I persisted, and gradually I began to appreciate Aronson's dedication to investigating issues and questions that deepen and widen one's understandings, especially of how a life of meaning can be created via greater awareness of appropriate gratitude for the struggles and achievements of forebears of all kinds (including major philosophers) and the responsibilities (if we chose to accept them) toward those forebears (and their current-day offspring) in being a part of the continuing work of making possible advancement for all human life--without expecting god to do it for us.
If that is a part of why you might buy this book, it's an excellent purchase.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jim Farmelant on October 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Something unprecedented happened in American publishing in the last four years. Books explicitly advocating atheism became bestsellers. It happened despite (or because of) the theocratic drift in our politics. In 2005, Wayne State University professor Ronald Aronson called the authors of such books "New Atheists," and the label stuck. Most notable among them have been Sam Harris (who had previously been an obscure neurology grad student), evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, philosopher Daniel Dennett, and political journalist Christopher Hitchens. Aronson included some other writers -- Michel Onfray, Julian Baggini, Erik Wielenberg, and Daniel Harbour -- whose books have sold less well.

Aronson now in his own book, Living Without God, welcomes the emergence of the New Atheists. He values their accomplishment, but emphasizes that more work needs to be done. They have succeeded in "breaking the spell" (to use a phrase applied very aptly in this context by Dennett) which in the USA had hindered skeptical discussion of religion for the past generation. But according to Aronson (p.16), "even after reading Harris, Dennett, Dawkins or Hitchens, secularists often have difficulty discussing what it is we [do] believe in, if not God."

He points out that this task is even more difficult for secularists nowadays than for their 19th- and early-20th-century predecessors. The earlier secularists could wave the Enlightenment banner of Progress; but meanwhile the world wars, genocides, and gulags have, for many of us, shredded that banner to tatters. Aronson describes as follows our spiritual predicament today (p.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Beusterien on March 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the editorial reviews above point out, this book takes the next step beyond Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris. Instead of focusing on why there is no reason to believe in God, this book is a thought-provoking exploration of what it means to live without God or religion.

One interesting item that caught me on an internal inconsistency was the page 140 discussion on destiny. There is a tendency to abdicate self-responsibility in favor of some vague sense of destiny.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Sutton on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I only found a few sections that made me sit up and pay attention where the author seems to be truly focusing on issues specific to those that the title tries to attract.

The personal sections about his despair over Detroit and what he's trying to do to help the community seemed a bit too pretentious.

In that same vein, I found many sections that were so personal that they didn't generalize well for readers in other circumstances.

Overall, I nice presentation of humanist liberal attitudes about how one ought to live, but only tangentially relevant to those he targets with the title and sub-title.

Might be most helpful for a person who, until recently, was wholly entrenched in church life and is seeking a new direction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Robinson on May 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've worked for 6 years as a hospice chaplain and consistently find Ron Aronson's book helpful in my own life and understanding as a humanist and teacher. His chapter Dying without God is worth the price of the book. He sees living well(!!) and dying well with eyes cleansed of millennia of theist overlay. Refreshing and insightful.
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