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Religion Without God

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  129 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
In his last book, Ronald Dworkin addresses questions that men and women have asked through the ages: What is religion and what is God's place in it? What is death and what is immortality? Based on the 2011 Einstein Lectures, Religion without God is inspired by remarks Einstein made that if religion consists of awe toward mysteries which "manifest themselves in the highest ...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Harvard University Press (first published 2013)
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Jul 06, 2016 Rein rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up during my recent travels, assuming (correctly) that it would provide a good perspective to recent re-evaluations of what religion is - something I need for a book about Asian worldviews I am working on. It is a heart-warming little treatise, a serious scholar's attempt to reconcile, toward the end of his life, his atheism with the idea of religion. I was actuallty torn between giving it 3 and 4 stars because I can sympathize with the attitude. But there are some serious pro ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Pavel rated it really liked it
An attempt to expand the scope of "religious conviction" by dissociating it from belief in one or more supernatural entities, in order to subsume a form of atheism and agnosticism under the constitutional clause that protects freedom of religion. The form of atheism which gets thus protected is the one which subscribes to what Dworkin calls "religious attitude", essentially the commitment to objective moral values and intrisic beauty of the universe. The problem is, of course, whether any attitu ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Tim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Dworkin defines religion in a such a way as to allow the inclusion of the godless among the religious. I am sympathetic to this move as such (he might also have adjusted the goalposts such that some godders were removed from the religious camp too; but he doesn't). I wouldn't mind being bracketed among the godless religious myself and I can relate to his more impressionistic accounts of the features that qualify. As it turns out though, I don't get so bracketed because for that to happen I would ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, philosophy
I found this book interesting, though it didn't take me anywhere particularly new. It had a gentle and respectful tone, while exploring some quite deep areas, albeit rather briefly.

Dworkin is a legal philosopher, and I appreciated the way he tries in this book to tease out what are the aspects/values of religion that do not belong exclusively to religion, that may require legal protection whether or not an individual is a believer in a god. He explores the ethical responsibilities that belong t
Dworkin's arguments are not compelling. I would not recommend this one. I'm about to start Mark Johnston's Saving God: Religion After Idolatry. Johnston's a solid philosopher and, if you're interested in contemporary accounts of "alternative religiosity," I would recommend checking his titles out.
Jan 04, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, slim book attempting to chart a third way between theism and naturalism. Essentially, Dworkin attempts to disassociate "religion" from theism and make it more about experiences of awe, beauty, objective value, and the numinous before the face of the cosmos, our fellow creatures, and the ethical obligations of our own short lives. These aspects of religious experience, Dworkin argues, should be and in fact are accessible to atheists; an atheist's experience of the "numinous" in the c ...more
Alexander Smith
May 30, 2014 Alexander Smith rated it it was amazing
Reading this book, I am very pleased with Professor Dworkin's perspective. He brings up some serious logical errors in a social governmental policy context and proceeds to offer some more cogent solutions. It is very pleasing to see someone who understands the problems of established religion in a society living under established laws natural and human science as well as government. I recommend this book to any person interested in policy, law, or applications of social aspects in religious law.
Mar 05, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The religious people on the one hand, and the secular/scientific people on the other: that’s the back-of-the-postcard version. But the philosopher and legal theorist Ronald Dworkin was both an atheist (he did not believe in a personal god) and a non-naturalist (he believed that certain no-natural things—not gods, but values) were objectively real. In this, his last book, he argues that many atheists have much more in common with believers (in God) than might appear to be the case: the atheists r ...more
Darin Stewart
Nov 18, 2013 Darin Stewart rated it really liked it
In this series of posthumously published lectures, Dworkin begins to establish a framework for a religious attitude that does not rest upon nor require a belief in a supernatural deity. At its core "the religious attitude...insists that values are real and fundamental, not just manifestations of something else; they are as real as trees or pain ... the world of value is self-contained and self-certifying." In essence Dworkin is say that there are things that are good or evil because of their inh ...more
Robin Friedman
Nov 29, 2013 Robin Friedman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over a lengthy career, the late Ronald Dworkin (1931 -- February 14, 2013) gradually expanded his philosophical scope from legal philosophy and a rejection of legal positivism to broad questions of ethics, metaphysics, and value. Thus, Dworkin's broadest statement of his philosophy is included in "Religion without God" (2013) which Dworkin submitted to his publisher shortly before his death. This short book is based upon lectures Dworkin gave in December 2011 at the University of Bern. Due to il ...more
Dariusz Płochocki
Mar 25, 2015 Dariusz Płochocki rated it really liked it
Ciekawa wyprawa po religijnym ateizmie, religii bez Boga. Ciekawa wyprawa o potrzebue czerpania i poznawania miłości od Spinozy po bzdury Dawkinsa (który zresztą uważa Spinoze za ateiste, twierdząć, że panteizm to podrasowana wersja ateizmu, co w sumie stawia go na równi z amsterdamskimi rabinami ;-) ), czy potyczki z religijnością Einsteina. 4/5
Jim Blessing
Jul 01, 2014 Jim Blessing rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
The author discussed how during history people have been willing to kill others who worship different gods or the same gods in different ways and that passion was the cause of terrible religious wars in Europe that made religious toleration imperative there. Many other points were made.
Jul 01, 2016 Carl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Once again I didn't get far with this author. I guess he's not for me. He writes about values; says he wants to demonstrate that they have reality & validity "out there" as opposed to being creations of our preferences. It seems that personally, I choose to live as if I accept his thesis but I find myself disliking attempting to intellectualize about it. Seems contrived to me.
Dec 29, 2013 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, atheism
[3 stars] This is the first book of Dworkin's I've ever read, and I think I'd have gotten more out of it if I'd already been familiar with his work or if I'd read the book more slowly. The publisher notes that Dworkin's illness and death prevented him from expanding the book as he'd planned to, which also might have made it easier to absorb. I have optimistic thoughts of rereading it at some point and really thinking about it. But even on this first reading, I was intrigued by his ideas on relig ...more
Sam Faith
Jul 20, 2014 Sam Faith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite line of the book as it leads to its closure "The Romantic poets said we should try to make our lives into works of art." Amen. And so because I believe our values and morality are inherent and our drive to live life well is intrinsic and not illusions I can perhaps consider myself a 'religious atheist'.
Dec 11, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great analysis of diverse problematics around the protection of the right to a free exercise of religion and freedom of religion. Great last chapter!
Jun 07, 2014 DinahKate marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
“referenced in WSJ review 4 30 14 of why science does not disprove god”
Jan 28, 2014 Shelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Didn't love it. Interesting ideas but some of them felt repeated.
Chris Kendig
Apr 06, 2015 Chris Kendig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
While some of its arguments are a bit wandering, the book's central premise that principled atheists and theists have more in common than is typically recognized is an important one.
Rob Schlapfer
Feb 27, 2014 Rob Schlapfer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding, clear-headed thinking rooted in Western {Christian-ish} Legal values and norms. Look for a host of populist versions coming to print in the months + years to come. This will be a prominent theme among Post-Evangelicals as they move toward Post-Theism. I think so, at least.
Nov 24, 2013 Three2em rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A touch short, but maybe all the more enjoyable for it. It offers to the discussion between theists and atheist something that I've never encountered, an attempt to find common ground between such seemingly opposing groups. Strongly recommend for anyone, like myself, who finds themselves deeply conflicted between a theistic and atheistic perception of our lives.
May 30, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not very thought provoking (not much new offered), but an honest summary of Dworkin's ideas. I loved the respectful tone and the ability to view both sides of issues without an agenda. Recommended read.
Jul 27, 2015 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: religious atheists
Recommended to Kate by: Stitt
Shelves: religions
"The universe is just there, and that's all."

"The point is not in the least what to make of it, but only, very delightfully and very damnably, where to put one's hand on it."
Jamie rated it it was amazing
Jul 24, 2016
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Guro Fcqialadze marked it as to-read
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Jul 03, 2016
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I would join a religion without a god 1 2 Dec 27, 2013 01:34PM  
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Ronald Dworkin, QC, FBA was an American philosopher of law. He was a Jeremy Bentham Professor of Law and Philosophy at University College London, Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law at New York University, and has taught previously at Yale Law School and the University of Oxford. An influential contributor to both philosophy of law and political philosophy, Dworkin received the 2007 Holberg Intern ...more
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