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The Little Book of Atheist Spiritualityby Comte Sponville
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant, elegant argument for spirituality without God
Can we do without religion? Can we have ethics without God? Is there such thing as“atheist spiritualit”? In this powerful book, the internationally bestselling author AndrÃ© Comte-Sponville presents a philosophical exploration of atheismÂ—and comes to some startling conclusions. According to Comte-Sponville, we have allowed the concept of spirituality to become intertwined with religion, and thus have lost touch with the nature of a true spiritual existence. In order to change this, however, we need not reject the ancient traditions and values that are part of our heritage; rather, we must rethink our relationship to these values and ask ourselves whether their significance comes from the existence of a higher power or simply the human need to connect to one another and the universe. Comte-Sponville offers rigorous, reasoned arguments that take both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions into account, and through his clear, concise, and often humorous prose, he offers a convincing treatise on a new form of spiritual life.
"This is a wonderful, short book suggesting that atheists, too, can lead spiritual lives. Comte-Sponville, a French philosopher, begins by asking, 'Can we do without religion?' and answers: 'Obviously, it all depends on what is meant by we.' He tells of being raised a Christian, believing in God until he was 18. 'Then I lost it,' he says. 'And it felt like a liberation — everything suddenly... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) seemed simpler, lighter, stronger and more open. I'm convinced that my life has been better — more lucid, freer and more intense — since I became an atheist.' He admits, however, that this does not apply to everyone. The return of religiosity, he remarks, 'is one of the most salient features of our times,' but he doesn't seem terribly concerned about it. 'Religion and irreligion are destined to live together for a long time to come,' he says. 'More power to (believers) if it helps them live.' In the end, he concludes that 'love, not hope, is what helps us live. Truth, not faith, is what sets us free.' By Sally Quinn is co-host of washingtonpost.com's religion blog, 'On Faith.'" Reviewed by Sally Quinn, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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Book News Annotation:
One of France's leading contemporary philosophers argues for the viability of spirituality and ethical living sans organized religion or God; he views dogmatism and terrorism as mutually reinforcing. As a disaffected Catholic, he concludes that: "Truth, not faith, is what sets us free" and that "Eternity is now." Suggested reading is listed. This is a translation of the French edition published in 2006 as L'esprit de l'atheisme (by Editiones Albin Michel, Paris), Annotation Â©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The perfect antidote to the fiery rhetoric that dominates our current national debate over religion, The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality is the ideal companion to such bestsellers as The God Delusion and God Is Not Great. I n this inspiring book, bestselling author and philosopher André Comte-Sponville offers a new perspective on the question of God?s existence, acknowledging the good that has come of religion while advocating tolerance from both believers and non-believers. Through clear, concise, and often humorous prose, Comte-Sponville offers a convincing appeal for a new form of spiritual life?one that at its heart celebrates the human need to connect to one another and the universe.
About the Author
AndrÃ© Comte-Sponville is one of Franc‛s preeminent contemporary philosophers. Previously a professor at the Sorbonne, he is the author of A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues, an international bestseller that has been translated into twenty-five languages.
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