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There Is No God and He Is Always with You: A Search for God in Odd Places

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  380 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Can you be an atheist and still believe in God?
Can you be a true believer and still doubt?
Can Zen give us a way past our constant fighting about God?

Brad Warner was initially interested in Buddhism because he wanted to find God, but Buddhism is usually thought of as godless. In the three decades since Warner began studying Zen, he has grappled with paradoxical questions ab
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by New World Library (first published May 15th 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,049)
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Sep 11, 2013 Marla rated it it was ok
This is kind of your typical book on Buddhism, in that if you're looking for answers they aren't in there. (Think "koan".) I didn't expect any answers. (The answer lies within grasshoppa')But this book has a befuddled voice to it. There are all kinds of circular logic and distractions going on. There were parts of this book that were more esoteric than an Alan Watts book. It feels like Warner is working the answer out in his head as he writes and no one does him the kindness of editing afterward ...more
John Kaufmann
Dec 30, 2014 John Kaufmann rated it really liked it
Buddhism is a practice, an attitude - not a belief or a philosophy. To convey an attitude, and the feelings associated with it (trust, faith, etc.), is harder than mere description. The author did a very good job of beginning to convey some of that attitude, some of those feelings. It's hard, because a lot of what he conveys is not some grand philosophy or insight that lends itself to dynamic, thought--provoking reading. It's the commitment, the patience, the fortitude, the daily practice and at ...more
Jul 02, 2013 Orson rated it it was amazing
I've been on a spree reading Brad Warner's books ever since I stumbled across his first book, Hardcore Zen. I was immediately impressed by his no-nonsense, intensely pragmatic approach to Buddhism, as well as his skill in weaving that approach together with punk-rock philosophy.

This book tackles the concept of God, and how it applies to Buddhism. This is something that I've continually struggled with since I started my Buddhist practice just over a year ago. I liked Brad's take on the idea, and
David Guy
Jun 22, 2013 David Guy rated it really liked it
Brad Warner has been touting this as his best book, and I agree. It is his most mature book, his best written, and it actually takes up the most daring subject. His last book was about sex, which some people might have thought daring, but this book uses the word God in connection with Zen practice, and that causes people to explode.

What he says, basically, is that what we're actually connecting with as we sit zazen is God, though he doesn't use that word in the childish simplistic sense that man
Scott Haraburda
Jul 21, 2013 Scott Haraburda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book.


Anyone who wants a fresh perceptive of God should read There Is No God and He Is Always with You: A Search for God in Odd Places. In its search for God by challenging us to understand the meanings of words, this book is engaging and funny. These topics include God, Heaven, Hell, creation, existence, death, morality, and miracles.

The author, Brad Warner, is Soto Zen Buddhist priest and Punk Rock Bass guitarist. He is also the
Mary Molinaro
Dec 05, 2014 Mary Molinaro rated it really liked it
Examination of concept of God seen through a buddhist lens. Very readable and thought provoking.
May 24, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it

Its hard to review this book. In general a book has its merit to me by how much I learn/change.
I don't feel like I learned anything from this book, but I think Brad said something important.

Brad also seems to have matured greatly in this work.
Brad, historically, has seemed to intentionally put forward a branding of himself (he is pretty consistent in his humor to the effect it seems forced) and can be too negative (hating on zigzagzen/Deepak Chopra) for my guru tastes.
In this book he im
Barbara O'Brien
Jan 12, 2014 Barbara O'Brien rated it it was amazing
Unlike some of the other reviewers I haven't been that crazy about Brad Warner's other books, but I loved this one.

One caveat -- I've been a formal student of Soto Zen Buddhism -- the same school in which Brad Warner is a teacher -- for lots of years. So he didn't say anything that was utterly new to me, but I think the way he put it together was very fresh and readable. However, I suspect that someone with no exposure to Zen whatsoever might find some of this book baffling. And if you are eithe
Jul 02, 2016 Drew rated it liked it
Interesting read about Zen Buddhism. Form is emptiness and emptiness is form or, in other words, material is the immaterial and the immaterial is the material. Get it?
Fred Kohn
Dec 18, 2013 Fred Kohn rated it it was ok
I grabbed up this book because of the title and the fact that when I leafed through it the chapter on Sam Harris caught my eye (his "The Moral Landscape" is one of my favorites). If I had known that this book was primarily about Zen I may have passed it up. My bad- I'm not really into Zen. But I would have hoped that a book about Zen would have at least piqued my interest in it, which this book did not. I didn't find Zen anymore attractive after reading this book than I did before.
Ron Davidson
Feb 13, 2014 Ron Davidson rated it really liked it
Another interesting and complex book from the "punk rock" Zen monk Brad Warner. The book has 22 chapters, each analyzing a particular thought about the meaning of god and the infinite, among other things. I just finished this book and am still digesting it. Unfortunately my mental digestive tract is often clogged, so I might need to read this again. It's a bitter irony that when Buddhism can be most useful to me is when it's most difficult for me to use it.

I wouldn't argue that this quote, near
Abhilash Nambiar
Thank you Brad for bringing God back into my life

I have been through with institutionalized religion for a while. I do not believe in the God of any major religion. I am a atheist with respect to almost all believers in the world. In that context, Brad's explanation is quite elegant and remarkable. Whatever he calls God is the universe and everything in it, including us and some more. That must have been the starting point in which people experienced what for the sake of brevity was later referr
Brenda Mengeling
Aug 27, 2013 Brenda Mengeling rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, spirituality, 49
If you want to think about how our understanding of God can still evolve and be meaningful, Brad Warner gives you a lot of things to think about in an engaging, easy-to-read-and-yet-nuanced way.
Dave Murray
Oct 09, 2014 Dave Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not what I expected. What did I expect?

I've been a Buddhist for quite some time. An agnostic in a so called godless religion. This is my first book by Brad Warner. I didn't know what to expect.

Having just suffered immense personal loss, the idea of God was on my mind. Certainly not an anthropomorphic God, but a higher power. Why I decided to read this book, I cannot say. I'm glad that I did.

Zen without koans was something that I was unaware of. I practice the Vipassana of the Theravada tradition
Sep 22, 2015 RodrigoBorgia rated it really liked it
I've been a follower of the author's blog for some time now, and that is the first book of his that I've read. I am quite accustomed to theoretical and scholarly literature, and I used to be a bit into philosophy. I'm saying this because I found that with such a background, Brad Warner's style comes with some issues: very autobiographical, very up to showing the rebellious and individualistic side of the author, and almost anxious to avoid anything that can be regarded as speculation - most nota ...more
Mar 09, 2015 Essi rated it really liked it
Quite solid Brad Warner. It's always interesting to follow my reactions to books like this that I agree with but don't feel like I'm really the target audience. I don't detest the use of the word God since I know God is a girl and His name is Eris. But I do like to read about Brad and his ideas since he writes them so well so maybe I was sort of the target group after all.

Anyway, I don't see how anyone smart enough to be reading this book would interpret that Buddhism includes God (which was a c
Feb 25, 2015 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I've read (I think) all of Brad Warner's previous books and have found each and every one of them fascinating and entertaining; I've always felt he brought a down-to-earth pragmatism to Zen and never pretended to have all the answers or to be the big I Am.

I'm not quite as convinced about this book. While Warner can write attractively about the practical aspects of Zen, this volume has by its nature more of a philosophical nature. I'm not entirely sure what I'm meant to understand by this particu
May 26, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic! As an atheist buddhist it gave me a whole way to think about god. Warner's argument that the term "God" is the only word we have to come close to the true purpose of meditation and enlightenment is brilliant. Warner seems to view god more like we would view the "universe" or the "the force". Using his definition with god I find no contradiction between my views as an atheist and a naturalistic explanation for the universe. I will be thinking about this book for a long ti ...more
Aug 01, 2013 Forrest rated it really liked it
I've read everything by Brad Warner. I follow his blog. I've given half a dozen copies of Hardcore Zen to friends. I'm completely enamored with his writing, and I was excited to get my hands on his latest undertaking.

Yet, the premise in There Is No God seems unnecessary. Using the term God to represent the universe and everything comes off as less than prudent. He makes the argument that the weight the term 'God' is given makes it the best option, but I'm still left with the disagreement. I'm st
Jan 08, 2015 Monique rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual, buddhism
There's the good and the bad...

I didn't particularly care for Brad's writing style; it read as if he were rambling on right in front of me. And this can get really annoying for some, when an author is taking 5-10 pages to express something when he could have simply done it in as few as 2 or 3 pages. However, I understand that he writes in an anecdotal manner that may be more useful for him to form a more concrete level of understanding with the reader.

And yet, this is one of those books that I w
Tanya McGinnity
Jun 21, 2013 Tanya McGinnity rated it it was amazing
Many of you know Brad Warner’s writing via his books and articles relating to Buddhism and Zen Buddhism, but with his latest book There is no God and he is Always With You, Brad ventures into the territory of Christianity and the interplay with Buddhist philosophy and perspectives on God, Life, Death, Existence.. you know… all the big topics.

The book itself if very much a koan as it truly is ‘a search for God in odd places’ given that it is a recount of Warner’s travels to locations all around t
Shelby Snapka
Mar 23, 2014 Shelby Snapka rated it liked it
A great memoir-style summary of the role of a "God" in Buddhism. I liked how Warner touched on the different variations of a God-like being and their implications, while keeping the material relatable and relatively simple. My main complaint is the manner in which Warner narrates - He tends to come across as the cooler-than-thou type, constantly mentioning how much of a rebel he is and name dropping his punk rock band. He also deviates from the topic with tangents in almost every chapter, which ...more
Sep 29, 2013 Jonn rated it really liked it
Shelves: zen
Having read several of Brad Warner's books, this wasn't my favourite (that would be Sit Down and Shut Up), but I would agree with other reviews that it was one of his best written and definitely his most mature, and he is still one of my favourite Zen authors for his ability to talk about difficult topics in a genuine, no-BS way. He should be commended for diving head-first into the ongoing "God/No God" debate and offering a middle ground that perhaps even atheists could get behind (even though ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Serdar rated it liked it
A good but not great addition to Warner's writings on Buddhism, where some passages of great intelligence and insight contrast with others of irritating shallowness. (Can we have a ban on citing Malcolm Gladwell as an expert on anything from now on, because it's plain he isn't one?) But on the whole it's worth the time and effort, even if it bulks tiny next to "Sit Down And Shut Up" or "Hardcore Zen".
Aug 22, 2015 Vijay rated it it was amazing
An excellent read. It was a very funny, insightful, and strong reading of Buddhist ideas that can be of benefit to non-theists like myself, atheists, as well as theists. The discourse he creates in this book is very well structured and his style is immensely readable. I'm on a project to complete all of his works as this is my second foray into his work (the first being Sex, Sin, and Zen).
Jul 18, 2013 Scott rated it really liked it
Brad Warner is always entertaining and usually interesting. He's not always convincing, though, and in this, his most recent book, I found him particularly unconvincing. God as a concept doesn't usually get much play in Buddhism in general, and maybe even less than that in Zen specifically, but Warner likes the idea of bringing the term in. This seems important to him, maybe because, as he says, he originally got into Zen thinking it was a way to find God. Obviously he's learned a lot about Zen ...more
Adam Vandyke
Dec 12, 2014 Adam Vandyke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. God is a subject I'd rather stay away from. I have read most of Brad Warner's books and he has never let me down so, why not? I enjoyed this book very much. Having been Christian, "It's god's plan" and "God works in mysterious ways" were the typical cop out answers when the questions got tough. It can be very frustrating. I walked away from all the Jesus stuff in search of answers and found some of Brad's books along the way. I love his cut, dry an ...more
Feb 22, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
"...shoving the word God into a tidy intellectual container would be like trying to shove a live octopus into a Kleenex box."
I'll be honest - there's quite a lot of this book that went over my head. I don't blame that on the author though. Warner does his best to speak in the voice of the common joe. But even his thoughts slipped and slided around my head much like the above-mentioned octopus. That's exactly why I read this book - I needed the wrestling match.
Jun 28, 2014 Audrey rated it it was amazing
I find books of this type hard to rate and review. 5 stars doesn't mean the book convinced me of anything, or was enlightening, or anything along those lines. In this case, 5 stars simply means I thought the author related what he was trying to say really well (as well as these things can be said, I suppose.)
Jun 24, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing
I'm glad Brad is writing these books about this paradox in as clear a fashion as one can dare. Zen is a very compatible perspective to a lifelong agnostic/atheist, but the identification with even "the godless" is a hindrance to seeing reality without filters.

One can know for certain there is no God "out there" lording over us; but, in what may sound contradictory to that knowledge, our original "ground of being" is stranger than can be imagined. Anyone can sit and eventually see for themselves
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Brad Warner is an ordained Zen Master (though he hates that term) in the Soto lineage founded in Japan by Master Dogen Zenji in the 13th century. He's the bass player for the hardcore punk rock group 0DFx (aka Zero Defex) and the ex-vice president of the Los Angeles office of the company founded by the man who created Godzilla.

Brad was born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1964. In 1972, his family relocated
More about Brad Warner...

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“In order to deal with the fear of annihilation you have to face annihilation again and again and again. It’s not enough just to understand this intellectually. It’s not enough just to read about this. You need to watch yourself being annihilated right now. If you can manage to sit quietly as you disappear from existence moment by moment, then you can see it’s really nothing to be afraid of. You gotta meditate. Nobody likes to hear that. But it’s true.” 3 likes
“So I do fear death in the sense that I find the prospect of dying pretty scary. But I no longer fear that I will one day be annihilated and cease to exist.” 2 likes
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