BOOK DISCUSSION: good without God by Greg M. Epstein

I didn’t know I was a humanist until I read this book.

I am a good person (I think). I volunteer, I donate my time & necessary items to people in need, I am there for my friends & family when they need me. I rescued my dog from an abusive home, yet people still gasp & give me those wide eyes when I say, “I don’t believe in god.”

Now, now…I’m not one of those “everyone-needs-to-know-I-don’t-believe-in-god”-type people. There are friends I knew for years before it ever came up in conversation. (However, it usually came up because someone made a hurtful, generalized statement about how people who don’t believe in god can’t possibly be decent humans.)

Thankfully, I never lost friends or family over my beliefs. Even my sweetest, small-town Pennsylvania grandma accepts my views, even though she follows up with huffing & puffing about me not getting married by a priest. Note: I am a single woman with a dog. I’m not even dating anyone at the moment. I don’t know why this is a thing she is concerned about.

I am not an atheist. Epstein kindly hashes out the different denominations of non-believers, which was really helpful in understanding where I stood.

I won’t get into my particular beliefs, although if you truly want to have a discussion about what I do believe, what you believe, please do–this is a home for discussion. I am willing to have a conversation with open-minded individuals who need a safe space to discuss. I don’t preach, I won’t judge, I promise.

Back to the book: Although I found some sections to be more, “Let me give you 100 examples of humanists/non-believers who are considered ‘good’ in history to prove my point”, there was an overall abundance of insight into humanism as a way of life. This book is about educating anyone who wants to know more about it, rather than a preachy conversion book.

For my religious friends who might be shaking their heads right now, read these words from Epstein himself:

“What is so wrong with the idea of God as a motivation, as the way for us to understand our purpose in life? Well, if it really, truly does motivate you to be good, then nothing. I have no quarrel with you. Again, this book is neither an attempt to convert you nor attempt to debunk your purpose.”

If you’re still wary & don’t want to give this a read, at least read the short conclusion on page 220 or look at the chart on pages 118-119. 

I’d love a follow-up from Epstein on things humanists can do in their daily lives to achieve their goals as a humanist. Or maybe I’ll write it one day. 

Talk to me! If you are religious, would you give this a read? If you are not religious, would you give this a read? 

Side note: Only tolerance & open-minded, KIND discussion is welcome here. There is no room for hate-speech. Please respectfully share your views.

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