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Religion without God

Religion without God

Ronald Dworkin
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Religion without God
    Book Description:

    In his last book, Ronald Dworkin addresses timeless questions: What is religion and what is God's place in it? What are death and immortality? He joins a sense of cosmic mystery and beauty to the claim that value is objective, independent of mind, and immanent in the world. Belief in God is one manifestation of this view, but not the only one.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-72803-5
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-44)

    The theme of this book is that religion is deeper than God. Religion is a deep, distinct, and comprehensive worldview: it holds that inherent, objective value permeates everything, that the universe and its creatures are awe-inspiring, that human life has purpose and the universe order. A belief in a god is only one possible manifestation or consequence of that deeper worldview. Of course, gods have served many human purposes: they have promised an afterlife, explained storms, and taken sides against enemies. But a central part of their appeal has been their supposed achievement of filling the world with value and...

    (pp. 45-104)

    We find much in the natural world beautiful: breathtaking canyons, gorgeous sunsets, prowling jaguars, and the little white rose that the poet says breaks your heart. To a naturalist this beauty is just a matter of our reactions to these sights: the pleasure we take in them. To the religious attitude they are discoveries of innate beauty: they are wonderful in themselves, not in virtue of how they strike us. This is not grounded realism: we do not suppose that we have a special beauty-detecting capacity that can be independently certified in some way. Still, we know that the sunset...

    (pp. 105-148)

    Religion figures in political constitutions and human rights conventions across the world. Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”¹ The European Convention on Human Rights offers the same guarantee, and adds, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed...

    (pp. 149-160)

    I SHOULD SAY SOMETHING, though I will not say much, about death. When Woody Allen was told that he would live on in his work, he replied that he would rather live on in his apartment. Most godly religions hold out the hope of something that should seem even better than that: an eternal living on in the most unimaginably wonderful circumstances. Quite literally unimaginable. Great painters show good people rising filled with helium, and popular cartoonists draw quite ordinary people sitting on clouds or pleading before a white-bearded man with a key. Silly evasions like these are inevitable because...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 161-170)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 171-180)