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Where does Living the Secular Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Ranking a non-fiction book like Living the Secular Life among all books I have read is difficult - I went to this book specifically for its content. Considering it for its content, it is excellent. Those of us who are purely secular have a difficult time living in a world where people can treat you less patriotic, less loving as parents, less moral as members of a community. Some of the information in this book helps to make it clear that this does not have to be true. The issue of ranking a book, though, can be that we all are drawn to media (books, newsprint, magazines, online information) that solidifies our positions. I'm no different and after selecting books like this, unless they go way off course [squirrel :-)] I often come out of reading them, enjoying the information gained because of that.
What other book might you compare Living the Secular Life to and why?
Although I don't have books I want to compare to it, I have read several Chris Hitchens' books and am interested in readings by people who have had religious convictions then lost them. Books I have read (from Audible) and liked include: What do you do with a Chocolate Jesus, Hope After Faith and The Selfish Gene.
What about Andy Paris’s performance did you like?
It was easy to listen to the book with out distraction. I appreciate a voice that is not associated with a specific part of the country (or a different country.) This is, of course my bias. I want to hear the content not the reader.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This book is mostly a series of anecdotes based on first person accounts from persons who consider themselves secular and why they embrace that world view. There's nothing inherently wrong with using anecdotes for telling a consistent story and this book does a good job while doing it. I found all the characters profiled interesting and worth learning from.
There are two ways I try to understand my place in the world and the world view that I have. One is by looking at fact based non-fiction books and the other is by reading fiction. To me, the anecdotal ultimately reads like fiction because the plural of anecdote is not data, and it can only provide understanding through empathy but not knowledge.
The characters talked about in this book all seem to refute the generalizations theist often assert such as "I've never met a non angry atheist" (Rick Warren actual quote), "without god anything is possible" (Bill O'Reilly and Dostoevsky), "you must be angry at god", or "it's impossible to be an atheist" and so on.
For those who learn best by way of fiction or anecdotes this book will be a good and entertaining listen, as for me, give me data, which leads to information, that becomes knowledge and ultimately leads to understanding and wisdom.
p.s. I really think the author is wrong in equating secular beliefs with no belief in an after life. He did it in multiple places but I belief that one doesn't necessarily follow from the other.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful