Post 6 of 40 of the Humanist Lent Writing Project
Good Without God:
What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe
By Greg M. Epstein,
Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University
272 pages, published October 27, 2009
In Good Without God, Epstein writes an introduction to a huge population of the world – those who do not believe in God. I see this book as a great introductory text to a very large and diverse population of people. I don’t think it goes into great detail very often but instead keeps things simple and brief. That is the really great thing about this book, I really would recommend this to people who aren’t studying religions deeply or want to know every identity group within the nontheist/freethought movement and all the major historical figures that have done great deeds while not holding belief in the divine. There are many books out there that do these things but view that are actually casual reading on the humanist community and the many other names we go by.
I could see this book being used as the Humanist/Nontheist text in religious communities that teach about many of the world’s religious traditions (Neighboring Faiths in UU congregations as an example). I could see this being given to significant others/partners in mixed-religious couplings or other loved ones. This is also a great book for those who are looking for the first humanist book to begin to study on their own.
The biggest thing I enjoyed about this book was the lack of anger, the lack of attack of those that do believe. I struggle when reading other authors who seem to believe that you can convert from either a place of anger or of superiority over those “stupid enough to believe.” This book is a refreshing invitation. To hear a piece of what humanists believe. Does Greg Epstein’s words sum up each and every humanists notions of how the world works and why they are motivated to do what they do? Of course not, i doubt any book can do that for a gorup of people. I do however see this book as a great source of correct information about humanist philosophy and worldview.
People I have spoken with about humanist/atheist/freethought reading material often have had bad experiences and ended up angry after reading other popular authors. I feel confident that you will be pleasantly surprised with this book’s lack of venom. I hope this book and many more like it become the norm and not the exception in humanist writings.