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Customer Review

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, revolutionary and compelling, August 6, 2012
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This review is from: Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans (Hardcover)
As a former Fundamentalist cult member, now one of the many nonbelievers, I had passionate interest in this book. Rarely have I read any book on any topic so well-presented, clear and informative. Niose makes a powerful case for why those of us who are nonbelievers (living with a 'post-theological worldview' as he so brightly describes it) need to assert our equality and oppose the oppressive millions who by force or by herding make up the Religious Right.

The most important thing I learned when I was a Fundamentalist cult member (a bona fide extremist group in which I was ensconced from early childhood until I woke up at 26 years old, married to a lay minister) is that every single word uttered by our senior pastor was the literal word of god coming through man. Questioning his edicts was questioning the deity and thus forbidden.

Since then, in my keen research into the principles of logic, evolution and scientific thought that I was formerly taught to eschew, I've learned that it is the default laziness of the "true believers" that enables them to just accept someone else's direction for their lives. I've come to see that it is the pig-headed volitional blindness of my former brethren and the millions like them that are destroying our country's democratic process. The very MINUTE one abdicates rational thought and empirical truth to anyone else, one is biting holes in the fabric of America.

Niose may be "preaching to the choir", as I am in complete agreement with his well-researched volume, but "the scales have fallen off my eyes". I now understand that belief without activism is folly. Because of his rallying cry, I will invest time and money in helping my beloved country achieve a healthy separation of church and state; fostering those who make compelling arguments counter to the superstitious ramblings of the Religious Wrong; and certainly make sure I continue to vote for those candidates who support a more humanistic, life-and-rights encompassing worldview.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 25, 2012 8:30:10 AM PDT
Norah says:
I agree that those who blindly follow the dictates of religion not only abdicate responsibility for many of the decisions or judgement they espouse, but place themselves in a position of vulnerability for abuse(similar to those who elect to follow a cult leader).I believe it is imperative as a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or any other religion or philosophical following that the individual continually reflect upon the logic of the philosophy and their own inner compass. Unfortunately I believe that most of us need a religion in order to have a structure to support the lifestyle that intuitively attracts joy, but requires a discipline that is difficult at best to maintain without the support of a congregation. Religions are not the opiate of the people, they are the backbone.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 25, 2012 10:12:51 AM PDT
Wendy Keller says:
I respect your comment with only one alteration: that religion can be "a" backbone. In my long history, I have not seen this benefit as you describe it evident in any - not one - of the Christians or Muslims I know, although it does seem to be true for a few Buddhists. So I think it is a possible backbone, but that too requires discipline.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 25, 2012 2:41:41 PM PDT
Norah says:
I do hope you are wrong. I volunteer in a humanitarian mental health initiative based on my personal believe that people can change if they have a desire and support system to aid them in establishing a more disciplined lifestyle. Many mental health concerns arise from not only genetic disposition but poor lifestyle choices that exacerbate concerns. With foster parent like homes with mentors to assist individuals, children or whole families to make better lifestyle choices from meal plans to exercise, urban agriculture, and vitamin deficiencies, 50% of the battle will be won. Various therapies from art, journaling, energy work and thought re-patterning with cognitive therapy, hypnosis or other treatments that may be specific to an individual's needs will be employed in a wrap-around effort.
I myself spent my youth undisciplined, with substance abuse utilized to avoid the depression I experienced as I watched my extremely discipline siblings move on to financially successful careers and lifestyles.
Although I was not conscious of this process I had undertaken, hind sight is always advantageous when reflecting upon the choices one makes. While family values are the dominant theme of the LDS Church, self-discipline is key to success. I soon recognised that I became a Mormon (while someone else might elect for a controlling spouse) in order to have something outside of myself to dictate my lifestyle. While I am a bit of an enigma to my congregation because I am always questioning the direction from which I take new cues, it has been an invaluable support system.
In turn I have support the Founder of the Shinah House Foundation in her belief that a good lifestyle and a specific vitamin regime will go a long way to assist those afflicted with mental health issues, as I have seen the reflection of this in my own life, and spend a great deal of time researching supporting and alternative thinking for the proposal that we are developing for the Blood Reserve in Southern Alberta.
I am intrigued by the book you have reviewed What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement.
Thanks for your thoughts. Norah

Posted on Aug 28, 2014 11:34:21 PM PDT
Denise N says:
Right on Sister!! While reading your review I was shouting to myself, YES, YES, YES!! You write and express yourself very well and so glad to hear about your activism in this. My family and I will be right there beside you fighting to protect our rights. Again, thanks Wendy.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2014 8:11:25 AM PDT
Wendy Keller says:
Thanks Denise. I think this is SUCH an important topic in our culture.
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