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Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided Hardcover – September 1, 2008
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
I took off two stars because Aronson has a habit of rambling to an annoying level. He has so many anecdotes that he ceases to make clear points. He also leaves no doubts about his political leanings, which I can understand, but this is a book about living without God, meaning he should stick to his subject matter and not try to tackle current politically controversial issues. He also makes some pretty serious assumptions, such as seeing a correlation between responsibility and religion as a cause and effect relationship.
Still, it was a noble effort and I'm glad I finished it. I hope there will be more authors that can take up the mantle and move beyond criticizing religion to some constructive means of guiding people on their own journey towards the truth.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't see anything new that haven't being said before by a sociologist. Excesive use of quotes and mentioning of names that sometimes we don't know who they are. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jose Quesada
I have been an atheist for a very, very long time. When people discovered this, I was often met with an accusative question as to why, meaning of course that God being evident... Read morePublished on December 22, 2013 by Victorbooks
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. Read morePublished on May 12, 2012 by Gretchen Robinson
Not as inspiring or "new directional" as I'd hoped. Most of the discussions are on a very basic, even anecdotal, level, and the topics chosen--and how they're treated--aren't... Read morePublished on September 28, 2011 by Matthew Sullivan
While the ideas behind the book are decent, they are presented in other, better works than this. Arondson is very wordy, and at times his writing muddled and confusing. Read morePublished on November 1, 2010 by Kristi
First off, I am as atheist as they come. If you look at my other Amazon reviews, you can see I'm not a Christian troll out looking for trouble. I wanted to like this book. Read morePublished on July 19, 2010 by R. Sunshine
As the editorial reviews above point out, this book takes the next step beyond Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris. Read morePublished on March 7, 2009 by Paul Beusterien