Life After Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism

Philip Kitcher. Yale Univ., $25 (200p) ISBN 978-0-300-20343-1
Yale's annual Terry Lectures have yielded another elegant book that addresses contemporary concerns. Kitcher's well-organized presentation ranges widely in drawing together sources from literature, philosophy, and the sciences to respectfully make a persuasive case that a secular outlook on life can produce value, meaning, and solace, all functions that religion has traditionally filled. He reasons sans broadsides, finding that religion is not so much violent or evil—as many of today's atheists argue—as it is improbable and, more important, unnecessary. He is a kind critic of religion, conceding that "refined religion," the highest form of belief and practice, has at least the advantage of being better organized to act for human improvement, since there are as yet no numerous or vast bodies of secular humanists doing disaster relief. (Give it time, he suggests.) Kitcher's real strength is his sensitivity to human suffering and mortality, and the ways in which those concerns must be addressed by a robust secular ethic. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/06/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-0-300-21685-1
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-0-300-21034-7
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