Good Without God Gets Great Publicity

There’s some great publicity today and this weekend for Harvard Humanist chaplain Greg Epstein and his book Good Without God.

Today, he’ll be appearing on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

And this Sunday, barring any major breaking news, a segment about his book should be featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

Hopefully, it will all be a nice starting point for more public conversations about religion.

  • http://synknits.blogspot.com/ Jamisyn

    Sweet!

  • Greg

    Good for Greg!!

    I plan on getting the book after I take my Christmas loot!

    I met him a couple of years ago at the Humanist event at Harvard, really, really good guy.

  • Frank

    Having read the book, I doubt that anything positive will come out of this. It’s a terrible book which shows Epstein to be incapable of serious thinking of any kind. It’s the sort of nonsense I expect to have to refute from religious people.

  • country squire atheist

    I recently read Greg Epstein’s new book and
    found it disappointing and troubling. He
    writes squarely in the “accommodationist”
    view of things with regard to Christianity and Judaism. He wants to see prayer’s good points used (whatever they are), rituals that connect with life experiences (birth, marriage, death, etc.) and other liturgical expressions of “faith.” Somehow we need to get past these religious connections if we desire a post-Christian secular world. Better yet, what people need to read and meditate on is Michel Onfray’s wonderful “The Atheist Manifesto.” Now there is some true grit and well-constructed material that we can all use to create a secular, humanistic world, and it doesn’t suggest making nice with religionists so we don’t offend them and their fabled stories.

  • Jeff Dale

    Somehow we need to get past these religious connections

    I agree, but on the other hand, if there’s the potential to attract a substantial number of religious people into a practice of humanism that includes such rituals, I think having that option available to them is a good thing. If the rituals are what makes it possible for those religious people to make the switch and really look at how good and right a godless life can be (or the apparent fact that they already, in reality, live a godless life), I’m glad to support this practice, even if I don’t feel like joining in.

    Besides, some people do find value in ritual, for human and not just religious reasons. Over time, if the religious support for ritual goes away, rituals will ultimately whittle down to what’s needed for human value, for those humans who want it.

  • Alan E.

    I just finished listening to the interview. He is very well spoken and Terry gives him ample room to present his point without overbearing the conversation with her views. This is why I love Terry Gross!

    Jeff, your point alludes to the way Christmas took over the other rituals and holidays of the time to make people not in Christianity more comfortable with the idea. If we can take that POV and use it for our own good, then Humanism might be our best bet for a more secular and reasonable society.

    I personally think Judaism is a much stronger bridge towards humanism than Christianity because there are so many rituals and times to reflect on the history and struggles of people than the history and struggle of 1 guy that may or may not have been real.

  • Jeff Dale

    Jeff, your point alludes to the way Christmas took over the other rituals and holidays of the time to make people not in Christianity more comfortable with the idea. If we can take that POV and use it for our own good, then Humanism might be our best bet for a more secular and reasonable society.

    Actually, I wasn’t thinking about that at all, but that’s a great point I should’ve mentioned.

    Early Christianity certainly benefited from co-opting some of the trappings of the pagan traditions it competed with, and a strain of humanism could certainly do the same by co-opting elements of Christian ritual. Again, not all humanists will be into that, just as not all Christians will be moved to “switch” by it, but some of each party will.

    Heck, a Christian could even go on calling himself a Christian within this movement, retaining as much of Christianity as he feels is worthwhile, which of course is more or less what many Christians already do, whether they recognize the fact or not. The “switch” should be comparatively easy for them, if (like many Christians in pluralistic communities) they’re not too closely tied to any particular church for social reasons.

    This is sounding like a better idea the more I think about it.


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