Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart

Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century

By (author) Lex Bayer, John Figdor

Publication date:

26 September 2014

Length of book:

188 pages

Publisher

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442236790

Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart asks an essential question for the 45 million Americans who self-identify as nonreligious: “So, you don’t believe in God; now what?” This question is increasingly important, as one-third of young adults under the age of thirty consider themselves nonreligious. With a scientific eye and an empathetic heart, the authors turn conventional perceptions about atheism on their head. They show that atheism need not be reactionary (against religion and God), but rather that it can offer a clear set of constructive principles to live by, which establish atheism as a positive worldview. Following a philosophical approach grounded in logic and evidence, Bayer and Figdor take readers on an inspiring journey to discover how to live a reasonable, ethical, and happy life without God. The readers are engaged at every step, encouraged to self-reflect and ultimately uncover their own set of personal beliefs.
Bayer and Figdor begin their book by acknowledging that the existence of a god or transcendent being can be neither proved nor disproved. Atheism and religious faith are, therefore, both belief systems. While religious traditions are good at defining the tenets of their faith, atheists too often define themselves merely by what they reject, failing to articulate affirmatively what they believe and why. This book sets out to right this wrong. The epistemological and ethical positions, presented in a highly readable and nontechnical fashion over several chapters, form the basis of the authors’ 10 noncommandments, which state in part that there is no god or universal moral truth . . . [The authors] should be commended for encouraging critical self-reflection and the examination and articulation of one’s beliefs. Skepticism, rigorous logic, compassionate ethics, personal integrity, and morals may well be characteristics of atheist minds and humanist hearts. They are also characteristics of people of faith. Readers may contemplate whether the two camps are more alike than different.