By A C Grayling
In a sequence of daring, unsparing polemics, A C Grayling exposes the damaging unreason he sees on the center of spiritual religion and highlights the pressing desire we need to reject it in all its varieties, with out compromise. as an alternative he argues for a collection of values in accordance with cause, mirrored image, and sympathy, taking his cue from the good moral culture of Western philosophy.
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Additional resources for Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness (Oberon Masters)
But in all cases the humanists’ approach rests on the idea that what shapes people is the complex of facts about the interaction between human nature’s biological underpinnings and each individual’s social and historical circumstances. Understanding these things – through the arts and literature, through history and philosophy, through the magnificent endeavour of science, through attentive personal experience and reflection, through close relationships, through the conversation of mankind 50 which all this adds up to – is the great essential for humanists in their quest to live good and achieving lives, to do good to others in the process, and to join with their fellows in building just and decent societies where all can have an opportunity to flourish – and where kindness and mutuality is the prevailing note of ethical interaction.
Yes, over half the population claim vaguely to believe in Something, which includes feng shui and crystals, and they may be ‘C of E’ in the sense of ‘Christmas and Easter’, but they are functionally secularist and would be horrified if asked to live according to the letter of (say) Christian morality: giving all one’s possessions to the poor, taking no thought for the morrow, and so impracticably forth. Not even Christian clerics follow these injunctions. This picture is repeated everywhere in the West except the US, and there too the religious base is eroding.
Humanism recognises this historical fact about the old myths, and sympathises with the needs that drive people in that direction. It points out to such that what feeds their hearts and 53 minds – love, beauty, music, sunshine on the sea, the sound of rain on leaves, the company of friends, the satisfaction that comes from successful effort – is more than the imaginary can ever give them, and that they should learn to re-describe these things – the real things of this world – as what gives life the poetry of its significance.