Thursday, February 13, 2014

R. Buckman. Can We Be Good Without God? (2004)

     R. Buckman. Can We Be Good Without God? (2004) Of we can. Buckman argues the case with material from a variety of sources, but his main argument is for atheism. He does a good job, but his style is somewhat breathless and often pedestrian (a curious combination, come to think of it). The book would have done better in half the length, and its two main theses might have been more gracefully argued in medium length essays. He points out that religion is a social good, but is often perverted into an excuse for evil. Persing’s work indicates that the right brain is responsible for religious and spiritual experiences, which agrees with other research that it’s the integrator of experience and knowledge: seeing the whole picture could well lead to the kind of ideas we label spiritual. Because like all human propensities, religious experience and insight can be used for both good and evil, Buckman is inclined to argue that we should at the very least be as skeptical and critical of our religious impulses as of our other ones. Good advice. The book won’t convince the believer, but it may help him or her to develop a more thoughtful and empathic expression of it. Because of the style, only **½ (2010)

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