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Small Group Meeting ~ "Religion Without God" by Ronald Dworkin

    "To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, ... and while some choose to call that reality God, it remains impenetrable for all of us."

-- Albert Einstein (an atheist)


In a recent Boston Globe editorial entitled "Earnest atheists look for God", columnist James Carroll discussed both the MA Pledge of Allegiance supreme court case (that we discussed last time) and a book by Ronald Dworkin, "Religion Without God". (There's an excerpt at the New York Review of Books and an excellent review at The New York Times.)

Carroll's assertion is that we need a "more reasoned discussion of what God, and the belief in God, brings to the world" and that Dr. Dworkin provides it. Paul Jameson will report what he took away from reading Dworkin's book. You're welcome to read the editorial or excerpt at the links above and watch Dr. Dworkin explain his thesis on video at the Bern University Einstein Lecture archive.

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  • Paul W J.

    I think we had a very good wide-ranging discussion. I enjoyed preparing for the meeting and hearing the varied and insightful comments. I want to thank all the attendees for their thoughts and insights.

    I came away for a new respect for the law and legal philosophy after reading Dworkin's book and also the comments by Stanley Fish.

    October 16, 2013

  • klaus k.

    Felt somewhat handicapped because I didn't read Dworkin. Discussion was very intellectual.

    October 15, 2013

  • Paul W J.

    Dworkin is a philosopher of the law and of religion. His writing is consistent with a decision by the US Supreme Court that allowed 3 people to be given conscientious objector draft status based on their religious beliefs, which beliefs we might called humanist. The very important decision states that humanist ideas are in many cases to be classified as religion. Dworkin's reasoning is similar to that of the court. For a full description of the court finding in US v Seeger, see
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=380&;
    invol=163
    It's not light reading though.

    But Dworking rejects the "naturalist approach" of Dawkins. He says the Dawkins approach is not consistent with his description of a "religious attitude". So I believe secular humanism would be considered a religion by Dworkin,

    October 13, 2013

  • klaus k.

    My first time with this group. Looking forward to sharing personal viewpoints. Never fail to read James Carroll - a voice of sanity.

    October 7, 2013

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