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The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  197 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
In The Atheist’s Way, Eric Maisel teaches you how to make rich personal meaning despite the absence of beneficent gods and the indifference of the universe to human concerns. Exploding the myth that there is any meaning to find or to seek, Dr. Maisel explains why the paradigm shift from seeking meaning to making meaning is this century’s most pressing intellectual goal.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by New World Library
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Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Unlike other atheist books, The Atheist’s Way, explains to both new atheists, those on the cusp of atheism and non-atheists what exactly it is that atheists believe in. Most people equate atheists with negative cynics and stoics, but the reality is that atheism can mean an extremely positive and beautiful existence; “…the atheist's way is a rich way, as rich as life itself” (page 2).

This books shows everyone just how meaningful, fulfilled and ethical an atheist’s life is. I’ve seen so many quest
Feb 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Wow, this is some crap. I'm really disappointed in Dale McGowan, Dan Barker, and Hemant Mehta for their enthusiastic blurbs for this on Amazon.

Maisel appears to think if he repeats the word "meaning" a whole lot, his hot air becomes meaningful. Nope. The question of purpose and satisfaction in a godless life is a valuable one, but Maisel doesn't investigate it with any concreteness or specificity. He instead just tells his readers that meaning means whatever you want it to mean and exhorts us r
Lynne Favreau
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
It’s not always easy to explain what being an atheist means, other than not believing in God or religion. Maisel not only explains what it means to be an atheist, free from religious dogma, but how to make meaning and become the hero in one’s own life. How we live, what we decided to invest meaning in, what our values and morals are, he asserts are the true paths to happiness, fulfillment and peace. We do not seek meaning, we make it. We create purpose and passion by deciding to. He affirms that ...more
Steve Mount
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a good practical guide to finding meaning without resorting to things that other such books might suggest: praying for guidance, getting spiritual guidance from a guru or tarot cards or scripture. It is all about finding within yourself what it is that means something to you, finding a way to become your own hero rather than allowing or forcing someone else to choose for you. It is a self-help book for atheists, and a good one for those in need of the assistance. I was not searching for ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it

This book offers an interesting approach to living without God/s. Instead of living according to a traditional set of values prescribed by a religion, Meisel shows you how to consciously make your own meanings for your life based on what is valuable to you.

I had never really thought about morality and living a "right life" in the author's terms, but I think a lot of nonreligious people wind up doing that unconsciously.
Rift Vegan
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, 2010

First Read, 22 March 2009: We need more books like this!

Second Read, 13 Oct 2010: It is a comfort to read this book: just knowing there are a few people out there with a similar world view. And still, "we need more books like this!" :)
Feb 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good, compact response to the oft-asked question, "If you're an atheist, how can you possible be moral/happy/etc/etc/etc."
Kirk Dawson
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fantastic perspective on living free from religion. A total paradigm shift a must for those that have left religion.
Paul Fidalgo
Apr 10, 2009 rated it liked it
[See my full review at my column:]

. . . Maisel's important mission is to help atheists face the truth of their circumstances, and in his book he gives some guidance as to what to do with once those circumstances are honestly understood. His message, I found, is crucial. His execution, however, is somewhat flawed, if nobly so.

This book offers a vital message that I think any nonreligious person needs to hear, even if they don't realize they n
Nicole Cushing
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Reads a little like a self-help book penned by Jean-Paul Sartre. Maisel's main theme is that we must all make our own meaning. In some ways, this is refreshing, simply because much of the "new atheism" pays little attention to building a constructive sense of what atheism might be FOR (focusing exclusively on what atheists are AGAINST). It was also refreshing to see a complex treatment of how some atheists construct ethics (I haven't read enough about that).

I'd be interested in seeing what a ske
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Not a book that bashes god or religion, instead offers tips on how to live life without these beliefs. This is especially handy for someone who used to believe.

Throughout the author quotes the experiences of others from a wide array of abandoned beliefs - no matter what flavor of atheist you are, there's probably at least one person in this book with a former belief similar to your old one. These are especially useful.

The author challenges us to create our own meaning, which is a great idea. Unf
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was clearly intended for those who have recently left their religion and might find themselves at odds with their newly discovered free time. Although Maisel does a good job in detailing all the ways in which one can live a meaningful life without having to go to church, the most important take-away message that I got was that it is perfectly ok for you to decide what meaning you want to give to your own life. I recommend this book to those who left religion after having it be such a l ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humanism, non-fiction
I am sure the author meant well but he pretty much portrays atheism as a religion. If this book helps anyone leave gods behind that would be wonderful and perhaps it would be useful to people who are struggling with the question of whether they will be 'good' if they give up religion. For the atheist however, there is not much here.
This book is well written and thoughtful and provides a pleasant read as long as you are not offended by the religious tone.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I largely agree with Maisel's philosophy: that we should live according to our own values, and make our own choices rather than defaulting without question to the received wisdom provided by religious and societial institutions. However, he insists that depression and mental illness is caused by people not living according to the principles laid out in his books. That just makes him look like a dick.
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humanism-atheism
So - you don't believe in God or you're thinking about not believing in what? This book creates a great discussion on creating and maintaining meaning in our lives in the absence of "supernatural enthusiasms." Its thoughtful and accessible. Unlike many atheist writers who go on angry tirades against God and religion, Maisel gently demonstrates how one might make meaning and ethics in a godless universe. I love this book.
Steve Goldberg
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although Im not ready to define myself as an athiest, this book certainly makes me consider it. It's provocative, compelling, well-argued and gives a strong case for making meaning in one's life. I see the damage that religion has done on many people close to me and I can only hope this book enters their lives.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was rather "preachy" (ironically) and heavy emphasis on including "there is no god" wherever he thinks he can slip it in. That's not to say I didn't find some well thought out content within this, but the writing style was rather unpalatable.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it liked it
This book has a useful premise, but even at only 175 pages, it wasn't substantive enough -- too cutesy, anecdotal, and repetitive. It could have been condensed into a pamphlet. You've got the gist 30 pages in.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Meh, maybe I expected too much after reading the covers. The book can be read in an afternoon. The audience that might most appreciate this book is one that is struggling with meaning and needs a quick push in the right direction.
Josh Young
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Basically it's existentialism for beginners. The existentialism is pretty much used as a self help tool. He argues that in the face of the fact that there is no God and no meaning in the universe we have to create our own meaning. Not that bad really and easily readable in a day or two.
Jerry Petersen
Nov 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Given a lack of a god to give meaning to your life, you create your own meaning in the things you do. I've just described in one sentence what it takes this book 175 pages to explain. Anyone who's already an atheist already knows this, and anyone not an atheist isn't going to read this book.
Peggy Downing
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Ok, book, but the writing was a little dry and boring.
Thomas Fortenberry
Interesting read. Seek and ye shall find many answers in this text.
Aug 28, 2013 added it
this was OK. looking forward to exploring this path more via more readings.
David Oxley
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2015
Daniel DiMatteo
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Samantha Glaze
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Corey J. Minich
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Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is the author of more than 40 books in the areas of creativity, coaching, mental health, and cultural trends. He is a psychotherapist and creativity coach, and writes for Psychology Today and Professional Artist Magazine and presents workshops internationally.
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