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Religion Without God Paperback – December 29, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0415217866 ISBN-10: 0415217865 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415217865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415217866
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,480,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Billington's book, which is very easy to comprehend, will interest three types of readers--those who are in agreement with his atheism; those who are undecided as to whether or not they believe there is a God; and those who believe in the reality of God..
CHOICE, M.C. Rose, Goucher College

About the Author

Ray Billington is an experienced and respected author on Eastern religion and philosophy. His books include Understanding Eastern Philospophy, Living Philosophy and East of Existentialism, all published by Routledge. He also writes occasional journalism most notably as a contributor to The Guardian's 'Face to Faith' column. An ex-Methodist minister and onetime chaplain with the SAS, he has now retired from his post as Principal Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of the West of England.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
When you read his book, you can tell that Billington obviously used to be a Christian, but lost his faith. I don't think he had any bad experience with Christianity, but his intellectual search just led him away from theism. I suspect that philosophy, science and comparative religion in particular were responsible for his change. As his mind led him out of Christianity, you might think his religiousity would become more shallow; but on the contrary, in his case it became much deeper.
Based on his own experience, he sees all of Western culture going through the same process. His thesis is that religion is better off without God. You can see that he already drew one long-winded, critical reviewer, and of course he will never convince any theists. Obviously Billington is just making his points and allowing readers to think for themselves.
(...)
Rather than theists, his book seems more directed toward people who are on the fence: maybe they suspect God doesn't exist, but they love or need religion and don't want to give it up. For them, Billington has a fresh Gospel (good news): they can go even deeper when they give God up. If you are in this position, this book will make you think hard, and it might change your life.
Now I basically agreed with Billington's thesis before I picked up the book, so you can anticipate my bias. I didn't care about the part of the book he spends criticizing the arguments that try to proove God's existence. Obviously other books do a better job of addressing that huge subject. For me, the interesting parts were his brief descriptions of non-theistic traditions, such as philosophical Taoism, Theravada and Zen Buddhism, and nondualistic Hinduism; as well as the romantic tradition in the West.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was raised a Christian fundamentalist. Eleven years ago, while searching for the foundation of my belief in the existence of god, I found that there is no logical or rational reason to hold such a belief. I still have a desire to find like-minded and family oriented people to fellowship with who share a quest for truth, knowledge, and morality. The potential groups I found posses a political drive to socialize world governments, which I do not share.
This book was easy to read, inspiring in parts, and if you are a religious scholar a rehash of many things you probably already know; but a good read nonetheless. The last 2 chapters (10 & 11) are where he gets to the heart of the matter. Chapter 10, Beyond Good and Evil, was a bit disturbing. I agreed with very little that he wrote here. On the section of moral maturity I completely disagreed with his whole premise. For example, I don't believe that slavery was ever moral. He seems to be arguing for moral relativism which I rejected long ago. I guess I'm somewhat of a moral objectivist. I believe that some things are morally right or wrong regardless of time or place. Chapter 11, Substance without form, was a bit of a let down as well; probably because of my own unrealistic expectations, more so than the contents of the chapter.
One more area that bothered me was 'religion without god' doesn't mean (to Billington) 'religion without the supernatural'. He keeps referring to the 'godhead' which is different than 'god'. It's the unknowable, non-antropomorphic, foundation of being, whatever that is supposed to mean. But if it's unknowable than why even bring it up and just assume that it exists?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The other reviewer mentioned that Billington didn't cover all possibilities of experience and I agree, but he was concise and I have to thank him for not dragging it out. He could have very easily turned this into a tome of epic proportions like William James' "Varieties of Religious Experience." But, he didn't. Clear-cut and well researched.
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