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 spirituality? In this powerful book, the internationally bestselling author André Comte-Sponville presents a philosophical exploration of atheismand 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.
At first blush "atheist spirituality" may sound like a contradiction in terms, but French philosopher Comte-Sponville makes a compelling argument for a profound dimension of experience that is god-free. His idea of spirituality also bears no small resemblance to Eastern spirituality, and the philosopher-author does not hesitate to cite great Eastern thinkers in this catalogue of references to great minds grappling with important questions. We can do without religion and without God, the author argues, but we can't do without fidelity and community. Comte-Sponville's humanism is deeply traditional, but the red flag "atheist" will undoubtedly affront religious traditionalists. That's unfortunate, because the author's style of arguing is civil and witty, unlike a lot of public discourse on this subject. He draws deeply on the history of philosophers who have pronounced on the subject of God's existence, disposing of the everything-is-permitted nihilism often associated with atheism. Nor does he argue that religion is dangerous, a stance in vogue among today's bestselling atheists. God just isn't logically necessary, but we can still have love, ethical behavior and even the experience of eternity. Formerly a Sorbonne professor, Comte-Sponville presents big ideas with masterful and witty clarity. For those who prefer Kant to cant, this refreshing little book is perfect.
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
André Comte-Sponville is one of Frances 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.