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Society without God : what the least…
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Society without God : what the least religious nations can tell us about… (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Phil Zuckerman

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1711069,515 (4.1)23
Member:mrund
Title:Society without God : what the least religious nations can tell us about contentment
Authors:Phil Zuckerman
Info:New York ; London : New York University Press, c2008.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment by Phil Zuckerman (2008)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Well-written, balanced and accurate. A sensible review of the no-religion concept and how it actually can work in today's world. I found this book to be a very interesting read and recommend that anyone studying religion - or anyone else, for that matter - take time to read it. ( )
  K.J. | Aug 16, 2014 |
Before he began his recent travels, it seemed to Phil Zuckerman as if humans all over the globe were “getting religion”—praising deities, performing holy rites, and soberly defending the world from sin. But most residents of Denmark and Sweden, he found, don't worship any god at all, don't pray, and don't give much credence to religious dogma of any kind. Instead of being bastions of sin and corruption, however, as the Christian Right has suggested a godless society would be, these countries are filled with residents who score at the very top of the "happiness index" and enjoy their healthy societies, which boast some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world (along with some of the lowest levels of corruption), excellent educational systems, strong economies, well-supported arts, free health care, egalitarian social policies, outstanding bike paths, and great beer.

Zuckerman formally interviewed nearly 150 Danes and Swedes of all ages and educational backgrounds over the course of fourteen months. He was particularly interested in the worldviews of people who live their lives without religious orientation. How do they think about and cope with death? Are they worried about an afterlife? What he found is that nearly all of his interviewees live their lives without much fear of the Grim Reaper or worries about the hereafter. This led him to wonder how and why it is that certain societies are non-religious in a world that seems to be marked by increasing religiosity. Drawing on prominent sociological theories and his own extensive research, Zuckerman ventures some interesting answers.

This fascinating approach directly counters the claims of outspoken, conservative American Christians who argue that a society without God would be hell on earth. It is crucial, Zuckerman believes, for Americans to know that “society without God is not only possible, but it can be quite civil and pleasant.” ( )
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  MarkBeronte | Jul 28, 2013 |
Should lay to rest for Americans the notion that people need to believe in fairy tales to live peaceably with one another. The next step is to stop being Christian atheists and purge the leftover mental baggage that still infects the West's value system. We need a non-christian atheism.

The West is still monistic
The West is still patriarchal
The West still punishes rather than seeks to heal and reform
The West still privileges males over females
The West is still hetero-normative
The West still thinks the ideal family is a hetero pair bonded nuclear family
The West still privileges monogamy
The West still reduces sex to animality ( ie procreation )
The West still controls female reproduction
The West still pretends to be individualistic, yet won't allow people to control their bodies.
The West still thinks parents own their children
The West still thinks is ok to teach your children lies if they are part of a religion(unless its a unapproved of religion like Wicca)
Western science is still trying to discern the mind of god (goes back to monism) ( )
1 vote ElectricKoolAid | Jan 4, 2013 |
Good to air a rational agnostic lifeview, but the text is very repetitive.
It's a one argument book.
Also, the description of religious America is certainly a caricature. Mr. Zuckerman needs to discover that many Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. attend quietly to their beliefs and lifestyles, much like the Danes and Swedes.
1 vote 2wonderY | Aug 31, 2010 |
  Busifer | Mar 19, 2010 |
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The world seems more religious than ever these days.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0814797148, Hardcover)

“Silver” Winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Religion Category

Before he began his recent travels, it seemed to Phil Zuckerman as if humans all over the globe were “getting religion”—praising deities, performing holy rites, and soberly defending the world from sin. But most residents of Denmark and Sweden, he found, don't worship any god at all, don't pray, and don't give much credence to religious dogma of any kind. Instead of being bastions of sin and corruption, however, as the Christian Right has suggested a godless society would be, these countries are filled with residents who score at the very top of the "happiness index" and enjoy their healthy societies, which boast some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world (along with some of the lowest levels of corruption), excellent educational systems, strong economies, well-supported arts, free health care, egalitarian social policies, outstanding bike paths, and great beer.

Zuckerman formally interviewed nearly 150 Danes and Swedes of all ages and educational backgrounds over the course of fourteen months. He was particularly interested in the worldviews of people who live their lives without religious orientation. How do they think about and cope with death? Are they worried about an afterlife? What he found is that nearly all of his interviewees live their lives without much fear of the Grim Reaper or worries about the hereafter. This led him to wonder how and why it is that certain societies are non-religious in a world that seems to be marked by increasing religiosity. Drawing on prominent sociological theories and his own extensive research, Zuckerman ventures some interesting answers.

This fascinating approach directly counters the claims of outspoken, conservative American Christians who argue that a society without God would be hell on earth. It is crucial, Zuckerman believes, for Americans to know that “society without God is not only possible, but it can be quite civil and pleasant.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:15 -0400)

Society Without God reveals this to be nothing more than a well-subscribed, and strangely American, delusion. This fascinating approach directly counters the claims of outspoken, conservative American Christians who argue that a society without God would be hell on earth. It is crucial, Zuckerman believes, for Americans to know that society without God is not only possible, but it can be quite civil and pleasant.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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