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The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  683 ratings  ·  105 reviews

The perfect antidote to the fiery rhetoric that dominates our current national debate over religion, The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality is the ideal companion to such bestsellers as The God Delusion and God Is Not Great. In this inspiring book, bestselling author and philosopher André Comte-Sponville offers a new perspective on the question of God's existence, acknowl

Hardcover, 212 pages
Published December 27th 2007 by Viking Adult (first published September 27th 2006)
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John Mlinar
I am happy to call myself a Christian, and I am happy to say that this book is the champion of atheistic apologetic literature. Were I an atheist, it would be the champion of my standing, but alas, the irrational draw of grace.

No more the scientism-choked, condescending, semantic hijacking typical of George Smith, Dawkins, and (most recently) the expositional regurgitation of Dan Barker's latest. Here is a philosophical voice ringing with intelligence and humanity, unambiguously inclined to life
Alex Telander
THE LITTLE BOOK OF ATHEIST SPIRITUALITY BY ANDRÉ COMTE-SPONVILLE, TRANSLATED BY NANCY HUSTON: We are living in a time when Atheism is becoming an increasingly popular belief system for many people around the world. While the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris are looking to expose religions for their apparent hypocrisy and cause of violence and many of the world’s problems; the renowned French philosopher, André Comte-Sponville, author of A Small Treatise on the Great ...more
A modern tendency – books about religion without spirituality get more and more popular. About The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality … poor book! Because the author doesn’t give good explanations of Atheist Spirituality. But they should. Everybody can criticize, it’s easy. But not everybody can offer something interesting and new. I remember only one modern author who can – Anatoliy Obraztsov with “a crossing or the drop's history” and writes about spirituality without religion too. Why one au ...more
Roberto Macias
This book was a huge disappointment, and I will try to explain why.

It speaks about the spirituality of Atheism, which is a possitive point, and begins by giving a definition of religion in an ethnological sense and separating it from the onthological definition. It is with this definition that the book begins and excels, clearly differentiating between god and a religion.

Later on however, the book tries to explain which parts of a religion (as a common belief in a set of moral values, rites, etc
Stan Murai
The author Andre Comte-Sponville makes a compelling case for spirituality outside the belief in a personal god. He rejects faith but not 'fidelity'. By which he means an attachment, commitment, or gratitude toward values, history and community that define human relationships. Most importantly, conflict and ethics will continue to exist even if one has no religion in the sense of the Judaeo-Christian or Islamic monotheistic traditions. He also points out that different forms of spirituality have ...more
Oooof, philosophy. Not my fave thing. But it was a "little book" and the phrase "atheist spirituality" - an oxymoron on its face - kind of intrigued me. I'm more of a Hitchens Girl when it comes to my approach of atheism, but I was going to give this one a shot.

Not surprisingly, the philosophical verbiage and manner of writing lost me rather consistently. I also could not relate at all when the author declared that he desperately wishes more than anything that God existed. I chalked this up to t
Христо Блажев
Духовност без Бог?:

Възможно ли е да сте духовен и вярващ човек, но да нямате капка вяра в Бог или богове? Според Андре Конт-Спонвил в книгата "Духът на атеизма" това е напълно възможно.

Да видим що е религия. Авторът пише: "Религията е всяка организирана съвкупност от вярвания и ритуали, свързани със свещени, свръхестествени или трансцедентални неща, и по-специално с един или повече богове, вярвания и ритуали, които обединяват в една и съща морална или ду
The end of this book horribly disappointed me. Reading two-thirds of a beautifully written book supporting atheism raised me to a delightful level of happiness. Which was swiftly destroyed by the chapter on atheistic mystical experiences. What a crock. What about life without transcendence?
John Roche
The book is broken into three sections: Religion, God's existence, and atheist spirituality. At the end there is a conclusion with his musings on love and truth.

The first section of the book has some thought provoking gems. Here he brilliantly develops his notion of the contrast between fidelity and faith, which I think he provides a very compelling distinction. Also, he goes into the dangers between the barbarous and the fanatic, again compelling and thought provoking.

The second section, on G
Compte-Sponville makes it look easy. The American translation of the title (for all I know the British edition was more literal), "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" captures the simplicity of his work, though risking trivializing it.

Criticisms of the last third of the book are understandable. In my experience, the primary determinant of whether or not an individual identifies as an atheist seems to be the extent to which their personality is religious- prone to the feelings of oneness, e
Please do not be deceived by the title and/or size of this book! It is a much “denser” read than I originally expected… The author is a modern-day philosopher who quotes material from any and all philosophers with which I am familiar (plus many others) in formulating a comprehensible argument to describe his own personal journey toward atheism. He accomplishes this without condemning any belief system, as long as those believers accept all others and do not ascribe to fanaticism, which he descri ...more
Comte-Sponville’s "Little Book" is a tranquil, absorbed, and passionate essay on atheistic spirituality - an oxymoronic concept when first encountered. However, Comte-Sponville manages to present his arguments eloquently, motivated "by the love of philosophy" and truth, and not "the hatred of religion". His non-proselytizing tone is only surpassed by his sensibility. In the first part of the book, a triad of fidelity, communion, and love is established, to assure the reader of the non threatenin ...more
It's pretty good, but the entire last third of the book is so new-agey it's ridiculous (and this coming from someone who's usually sympathetic to new-age language). Overall it has a great message and preaches tolerance, respect, and love. It just doesn't dig incredibly deep into the issues, and, like I said, the third part is so out-of-character for the book as a whole. It's like the author dozed off and started sleep-writing... very odd. Again, I sympathize with new-age sentiments... but in thi ...more
Very friendly overview of a spiritual outlook on life that does not require god or gods. It examines definitions of morality, hope, faith, love, communion and many other human qualities. Comte-Sponville looks at arguments for and against god--especially the Christian god. His writing is light, friendly and intelligent. I've enjoyed and learned a quite a lot from it. I am, and have been an atheist for many years, but I gained new insight into my own feelings about life and how to best live my own ...more
Comte-Sponville accepts and understands mortal human life with such grace, clarity and wisdom. Reading and re-reading The last chapter of "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" has given me the comfort to carry on and live, live, LIVE despite the panic and meaninglessness that sometimes threatens to overwhelm me during my extended young-atheist quarter-life crisis. My pen is dry from all the highlighting, but these words in particular hit home:

"Love of fate, loving what is-- not because it i
Lee Harmon
Surprisingly, this book provides precisely what the title promises. It’s in three parts:

I. Can we do without religion?

II. Does God exist?

III. Can there be an atheist spirituality?

In Part I, Andre argues that humanity survives on the same moral, spiritual, and cultural values that religion cultivates, but that religion itself is unnecessary. Religion doesn’t provide the basis for our morals, but rather our morals provide the basis for religion. We do have a foundational need for our spiritual wel
Craig Werner
Somehow or another, I'd failed to add this when I was compiling my life-time bookshelf, but I'm happy to rectify the error. Whether you're atheist, agnostic, or theist, Comte-Sponville's elegant apologia (in the classical sense--explanation more than apology) will force you to rethink the ethical implications of where you stand. I'll leave it there and let C-S speak for himself, but this is as good a book on the spiritual/ethical life as I've ever read.
Fred Kohn
It is really refreshing reading a book by a thoughtful atheist after we have been subjected to so much of the philosophical drivel produced by the so-called New Atheists. The first two sections: Can we do without religion, and Does God exist are unexpectedly excellent five star material. (Who would suspect anything original could be said on these matters?) The last section: Can there be an atheist spirituality, which should have been the meat of the book, was a bit disappointing. Although in par ...more
Roger Blakesley
The best book on the topic of atheism I have ever read. He makes his position well known not by attacking religion or holders of religious faith, but by compassionately expounding on the human wonder we all can embrace when perceiving reality.

Comte-Sponville is compassionate and tender in his exposition, but also unapologetic and relentlessly logical in the execution of the atheist position. With firmly-seated logic such as this and legitimate scholarly positions, who needs anger?

The so-called n
I liked this author's nondefensive, matter-of-fact, well-reasoned embrace of atheism...and that he expresses nonpatronizing compassion/OKness for those who embrace a personal God. He's a very smart philosopher dude, and writes in accessible language (even when translated to English from his French), but still much of what he said was over my head...
Books Ring Mah Bell
Jan 26, 2009 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dawkins, Hitchens, and other pissed off atheists
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toujours un très grande pédagogie bien que sur un sujet qui me dépasse voire me laisse froid. Une approche personnelle de la spiritualité très intéressante.
Le livre se décompose en trois parties : "Peut-on se passer de religion ?", "Dieu existe-t-il ?" et "Quelle spiritualité pour les athées ?".
J'ai beaucoup aimé les deux premières parties, qui traitent de leur sujet avec justesse tout en restant accessibles au lecteur "lambda" non habitué aux discours et à la terminologie philosophiques.
La troisième partie, par contre, m'a parue assez ennuyeuse et largement moins accessible, pour un petit livre censé se limiter à une "introduction à une spirituali
It is such a relief to find a book which manages to be staunchly atheist without being dogmatic and evangelically so. This explains how it's possible to not believe in God, see that religion has caused a lot of harm but still enjoy a good carol service and respect your Grandmother for praying every night. Full of very well researched philosophical referencing, although there are a few assumptions about the occasional philosopher that are a little glib and easy and used just to prove a point. Bei ...more
"The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" by Andre Comte-Sponville is a promising indication of an alternative voice within the Humanist or Secular Movement to the offering of "New Atheists" like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris. Though a short read, the book has numerous big ideas and foundational concepts that give satisfying if not perfect framework for the quiet or "non-angry" atheist.

The books has two primary strengths. One is that it is willing to acknowledge the importance of religion for m
Alan Vonlanthen
Bof bof...

Beaucoup aimé les 6 arguments pour l'athéisme (faiblesse des arguments opposés, faiblesse des expériences, l'explication incompréhensible, l'excès du mal, la médiocrité de l'homme, le désir & l'illusion) ; magnifiquement construit.

Beaucoup aimé aussi la réflexion sur les 3 vertus théologales (foi, espérance, amour) dont seul l'amour peut subsister. J'aime beaucoup le concept de mystique de l'immanence (vs mystique de la transcendance), pas besoin d'un dieu - ou d'une autre forme d
Al Bità
The title of the book says it all, but needs to be qualified. The author informs us that he is approaching this matter from within the Jewish/Christian Western tradition within which he was raised (Roman Catholic); he also admits that he is well aware that atheist spirituality has existed in many oriental traditions at least, so there is no question in his mind that it is possible to have 'spirituality' without necessarily believing in a god.

This should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it,
Ed Smiley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I do greatly admire this book and its author. There are many disagreements I have with some conclusions and certain hidden assumptions, and I will mention a few of them later. However, overall, its warm tone and honesty make it a joy to read, and something like joy is at the heart of things. Perhaps it is better seen as one person’s statement set against our understanding that ultimately each of us make only one person’s statement. Proseltysing is out, celebration of doubt and mystery and divers
Mar 17, 2010 Chris rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who debates theism or religion
I picked up this book from the library on a whim, and am glad that I did. As someone who debates religion from time to time, I appreciated some of Comte-Sponville's points on tolerance, such as the difference between the rational religious and fanatics.

The book is divided into three sections, and the first two make an excellent read. The first attempts to tackle whether we can do without religion, either as individuals or as a society, and the second is the reasons for being an atheist. Even in
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André Comte-Sponville, philosophe matérialiste, rationaliste et humaniste, est né à Paris, en 1952. Ancien élève de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure de la rue d'Ulm, agrégé de philosophie, docteur de troisième cycle, il est aussi Docteur Honoris Causa de l'Université de Mons-Hainaut, en Belgique.

André Comte-Sponville fut maître de conférences à la Sorbonne1 (Université Paris I) jusqu'en 1998, date depu
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“No, what worries me, I readily admit, is everything (that is to say, anything and everything) - everything, that is, except the All, which I find soothing.” 2 likes
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