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Good Without God

In 2010, Greg M. Epstein, the Humanist chaplain at Harvard University, wrote a book entitled Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, an exploration of the possibility of morality coexisting with atheism. Good Without GodAs an manifesto of humanism, Epstein’s book attempts to resurrect the overwhelmingly negative views that many people hold against atheists. Epstein, an ordained Humanist Rabbi, uses his position as a blogger, author, and academic to counter the effects of the fundamentalist religious right in America.

In Good Without God, Epstein points out that some of the least violent, best educated, and most socially progressive nations on Earth are among the most secular, such as the various Scandinavian nations. Additionally, non-Church going Americans, he states, are more likely to oppose such practices as the U.S.’s use of torture. Humanists, his umbrella term for atheists, agnostics, deists, etc., are often divided by such labels and unable to connect with other nonreligious individuals.

In Good Without God, the idea that a person cannot be an ethical or responsible individual is raised. In fact, Epstein goes to great lengths in order to counter the prevailing notion spread that by some that anyone who does not believe in a personal God is condemned to Hell as immoral. Epstein demonstrates that there is in fact a long tradition in many cultures, such as Buddhism, that makes a lie of such claims.

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