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Customer Review

31 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most engaging books I ever read; very easy read (not for the biased towards faith), January 6, 2006
This review is from: Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life without God (Hardcover)
Written in literary form, Life, Sex and Ideas is easily accessable for the lay reader in philosophy. If you are inclined towards adherence to an exoteric god's ethics, then this book is not for you. Says A. C. Grayling on page 228, if "there are no transcendent grounds for value [i.e., God], [then we must] therefore find them within ourselves...." This is first and foremost a humanist work. This particular Grayling work is not one of formal philosophy, as he was trained, but is aimed at reflection of life and the issues people face. He says children should be taught not by moralists advocating doctrine but should be exposed to the wonder of the self-examined life. If they are not provided with such an education, then they are being deprived of being human. Religious teaching, he says, is the equivalent to child abuse, for one has implanted the ideas of irrational and unempirical thought into the mind of an impressionable child. Conceptions of hell, damnation, and God's grace inhibit our ability to find value in ourselves and create barrier to universal morality, one beneficial to all, save for those who think this morality sinful. All of the 61 essays are attempts to find value in ourselves. He speaks out against the death penalty, against the naturalistic fallacy, for understanding one another, for valuing the emotional independence of those who commit suicide, against guns (made only as a tool of killing), for democracy, and for valuing reading. If ever there was a book detailing a crystal-clear moral outlook, this is the one. A book for reflection and not for exhaustion, Grayling will make you take stock of your life. In praising Michel De Montaigne for inventing the essay, and others for writing in the format, he engages in a bit of self-praise for his style of writing. I believe he deserves to do so. He is a master in the art. I would recommend this book to anyone who is ready to live the life of Socrates, a life of self-examination in which value is fished for. I was astounded when I saw the average rating for this book. After I thought of the masses of believers unwilling to engage in some self-criticism, however, I found the culprit. As an atheist, I criticise my way of life all the time, because I have no universal code to which I must adhere. Constantly I am questioning my actions. I wish only the same for the faithful, i.e., the stubborn. If you are ready to begin the journey, I would recommend this book without question.
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Location: Yellville, Arkansas, U.S.

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