May 9, 2009 · 7:00 PM
Ronald Aronson is the author of Living Without God: New Direcitons
for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists and the Undecided
He is the Distinguished Professor of the History of Ideas, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, at Wayne State University. His recent book was published in September by Counterpoint Press. In his comment on the book jacket, Christopher Hitchens writes: “Ronald Aronson demonstrates that atheism represents much more than what one does not believe: that it is the precondition for a generous humanism….”
Aronson also wrote the cover article on “The New Atheists” in The Nation in June, 2007 and has published recent articles on secularists and secularism in USA Today (October 20) and The Nation (October 28). An excerpt from his book will appear in a forthcoming issue of Free Inquiry, along with a review. His book has also been reviewed in The Humanist and the New York Times.
Mr. Aronson makes a good argument that Americans are far more secular, or at least less religious, than is often recognized. But, he says, contemporary secularism has lost the buoyant confidence it once gained from “its essential link to the idea of Progress, which promised so much and came to such grief during the 20th century.”
“To live comfortably without God today,” he says, “means doing what has not yet been done, namely, rethinking the secular worldview after the eclipse of modern optimism.” Indeed, “religion is not really the issue, but rather the incompleteness or tentativeness, the thinness or emptiness, of today’s atheism, agnosticism and secularism. Living without God means turning toward something.”
Join us for this special presentation and for the celebration of our fourth anniversary as a Center for Inquiry Community.