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The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  922 Ratings  ·  121 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
Jan 14, 2009 John Mlinar rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 20, 2008 Alex Telander rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 31, 2012 Bobby rated it liked it
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
Jan 03, 2008 Heron rated it liked it
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?
Feb 14, 2012 Kerrie rated it liked it
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
Gabriela Ventura
Feb 25, 2017 Gabriela Ventura rated it liked it
Shelves: secularism
Como ateia e humanista, gosto de ler abordagens secularistas que não excluem a necessidade de uma vida espiritual - essa visão só parece contraditória porque é comum associar "espírito" ao sobrenatural, à transcendência. O que é uma BOBAGEM TREMENDA, mas não sou eu que vou dar aula de etimologia no Goodreads. (Não vou nem entrar no mérito de que estou escrevendo em português sobre um livro que sequer foi traduzido, e de que esse espaço está se tornando mais um diário de leituras do que resenhas ...more
Feb 19, 2011 Amelia rated it really liked it
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
John Roche
Oct 03, 2012 John Roche rated it liked it
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
Stan Murai
Jul 25, 2011 Stan Murai rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
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
Tarek Mallak
May 21, 2015 Tarek Mallak rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, science
I thank André Comte-Sponville for that book, it is THE book that changed my life.
Back when I started to recognise my atheistic views and my loss of faith, I felt dread of what I have become, I was afraid yet furious of losing my "humanity", I could not accept losing faith as I saw it walking out on humane values yet I could not force myself to retain any of it. I hope someone can imagine the feeling.
And one day, while walking in a book store, I get caught by the title and thought "what kind of a
Mar 16, 2014 aFreeHumanist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 15, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it
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
Nov 29, 2009 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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.
Mar 22, 2013 Jeff rated it liked it
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 20, 2009 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dawkins, Hitchens, and other pissed off atheists
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2014 Pierre-emmanuel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philo
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.
Ed Smiley
Jan 01, 2010 Ed Smiley rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 12, 2008 Abailart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirit

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 15, 2017 Linda rated it it was amazing
This was exactly the book I needed to read right now. Beautifully written and wise, it clarified so much for me and pointed the way to other authors. I borrowed this from the library and then ordered my own copy from I don't agree with everything in this book, but I am so glad to have read it and will do so again.
Gregg SAPP
Jan 30, 2016 Gregg SAPP rated it really liked it
In the United States, recent public opinion polls indicate the god-fearing people of America would sooner vote for a person of just about any racial, ethnic, gender preference, or religious background before they’d vote for an atheist for president. Even a Moslem! While it might be encouraging that the American public’s views thus seem at least somewhat tolerant, it is fair to ask – what’s so irredeemable about not believing in a deity that it would disqualify a person from holding the highest e ...more
Jul 22, 2008 Heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, read2008
I read some, skimmed some of this book. In some ways it reads like an overview of philosophy through the history of the Western Canon, as one of the prevalent themes of philosophy has been the attempt to posit the existence of God. It took me back to my college days, and reminded me of that all-consuming quest of the Liberal Arts student. Even science seeks the truth to the Root Cause of All Things.

If a reader doesn't have this literary background, it's possible the philosophical name-dropping o
Michael Brady
My, what a fine "little book!" Comte-Sponville reminds us that the search for meaning has long been - and will forever continues to be - conducted by the non-believer and the non-religious as well as the theist. He reminds the theist that atheism need not equal nihilism while reminding the atheist that non-belief need not entail fatalism. I plan to make gifts of this rich little volume to my favorite evangelical, my favorite Marxist, and many of the others I also love in between. I'll be reading ...more
Jan 21, 2011 Sean rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"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
Feb 19, 2009 Renee rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I was drawn to this book, as I often am, by a seemingly contradictory title ‘The Book of Atheist Spirituality’. Although there is a touch of arrogance in the title (who is Comte to presume he can write ‘THE’ book on atheist spirituality?) my curiosity got the better of me and a waltzed out of the bookstore with it.

Comte’s book is split into three sections, each addressing a question:

Can we do without god?

Unlike many atheist books like ‘The God Delusion’, Andre does not seek to ‘convert’ believer
Lee Harmon
Feb 18, 2014 Lee Harmon rated it it was amazing
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
Al Bità
Mar 18, 2009 Al Bità rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Mar 17, 2010 Chris rated it liked it  ·  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
More about André Comte-Sponville...

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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.” 3 likes
“All trips end eventually. Is that any reason to renounce undertaking one and enjoying it? You only live once. Is that any reason to spoil the single life you do have?” 1 likes
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