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Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided Hardcover – September 1, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
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"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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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.
So I really have to wonder who this book is meant for. It's not clearly set out to persuade an "undecided" of the merits of a secular worldview, and it doesn't provide a solid foundation for constructing that worldview either. Maybe if an atheist/agnostic had never really bothered thinking about the more "positive" ways of approaching a life of unbelief or how to live ethically and meaningfully in the world...
I certainly don't think that the book has no value or that it isn't written in a (mildly) engaging manner, but it wasn't very eye-opening, and it didn't do for me what, say, J. D. Trout's The Empathy Gap: Building Bridges to the Good Life and the Good Society did in terms of thinking about realistic social policy based on frank, evidence-based discussions of our minds and decision-making.
Maybe recommend it or pass it along to someone curious about a non-religious approach to living meaningfully (whether or not they are themselves undecided) who wants a different perspective without needing to be convinced by a solid, robust case
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.