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My Own Church: A Nonbeliever Looks At Post-Christian America

Social science


by
Thomas Mates

Book Details

Format: EPUB

Page count: 150 pages

File size: 466 KB

Protection: DRM free

Language: English

There’s a conversation going on between religious and nonreligious people in America, and it isn’t going very well. My aim in writing My Own Church was to create a template for a better debate by supplying the missing, non-adversarial half of the atheist voice.

Non-adversarial does not mean weak or tepid — just honest about the fact that believers’ disagreements with one another are often as fundamental as their disagreements with us nonbelievers. In fact an emphasis on how variable the religious experience is, and how evolutionary and human religion is, is key to both strengthening the nonbelieving voice and improving the conversation. Religious people will always be, and should always be, free to bring religion into the political arena, but they should be humble in doing so given that religion is too personal, too mutable, to be a source of public moral absolutes.

The book’s title plays up this idea. It derives from Tom Paine’s famous quote: “…my own mind is my own church.” Paine was an anti-Bible deist, and yet his statement could be applied just as accurately to any self-described “fundamentalist” — or atheist for that matter, if we take a small liberty in the meaning of the word “church.” The big difference between believing and nonbelieving minds is that believers operate intuitively when it comes to religion, while nonbelievers operate analytically. This difference alone is often enough to get conversations between the two off to an impossibly bad start. Believers’ feelings towards our changing world frequently cause them to shape their Gods into tools for cultural and moral reaction. Nonbelievers frequently respond by picking up the cudgels of logic and ridicule.

My Own Church presents the nonfiction reading public with something new: a criticism of religion and its place in public life that manages to be respectful to all sides while refusing to deal in platitudes or alarmism. It features down-to-earth political talk combined with a philosophically, sociologically, historically, and scripturally considerate statement of the nonbelieving position. It will come across easily and clearly to the general nonfiction reader without disappointing the intellectual.

There’s a conversation going on between religious and nonreligious people in America, and it isn’t going very well. My aim in writing My Own Church was to create a template for a better debate by supplying the missing, non-adversarial half of the atheist voice.

Non-adversarial does not mean weak or tepid — just honest about the fact that believers’ disagreements with one another are often as fundamental as their disagreements with us nonbelievers. In fact an emphasis… (more)

There’s a conversation going on between religious and nonreligious people in America, and it isn’t going very well. My aim in writing My Own Church was to create a template for a better debate by supplying the missing, non-adversarial half of the atheist voice.

Non-adversarial does not mean weak or tepid — just honest about the fact that believers’ disagreements with one another are often as fundamental as their disagreements with us nonbelievers. In fact an emphasis on how variable the religious experience is, and how evolutionary and human religion is, is key to both strengthening the nonbelieving voice and improving the conversation. Religious people will always be, and should always be, free to bring religion into the political arena, but they should be humble in doing so given that religion is too personal, too mutable, to be a source of public moral absolutes.

The book’s title plays up this idea. It derives from Tom Paine’s famous quote: “…my own mind is my own church.” Paine was an anti-Bible deist, and yet his statement could be applied just as accurately to any self-described “fundamentalist” — or atheist for that matter, if we take a small liberty in the meaning of the word “church.” The big difference between believing and nonbelieving minds is that believers operate intuitively when it comes to religion, while nonbelievers operate analytically. This difference alone is often enough to get conversations between the two off to an impossibly bad start. Believers’ feelings towards our changing world frequently cause them to shape their Gods into tools for cultural and moral reaction. Nonbelievers frequently respond by picking up the cudgels of logic and ridicule.

My Own Church presents the nonfiction reading public with something new: a criticism of religion and its place in public life that manages to be respectful to all sides while refusing to deal in platitudes or alarmism. It features down-to-earth political talk combined with a philosophically, sociologically, historically, and scripturally considerate statement of the nonbelieving position. It will come across easily and clearly to the general nonfiction reader without disappointing the intellectual.

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