1st Edition

Religion and Atheism Beyond the Divide

Edited By Anthony Carroll, Richard Norman Copyright 2017
    278 Pages
    by Routledge

    278 Pages
    by Routledge

    Arguments between those who hold religious beliefs and those who do not have been at fever pitch. They have also reached an impasse, with equally entrenched views held by believer and atheist - and even agnostic - alike. This collection is one of the first books to move beyond this deadlock. Specially commissioned chapters address major areas that cut across the debate between the two sides: the origin of knowledge, objectivity and meaning; moral values and the nature of the human person and the good life; and the challenge of how to promote honest and fruitful dialogue in the light of the wide diversity of beliefs, religious and otherwise. Under these broad headings leading figures in the field examine and reflect upon:

    • Secular and religious humanism
    • The idea of the sacred
    • The vexed issue of science in both religious and secular accounts of knowledge
    • Spirituality for the godless
    • Non-western perspectives on the atheism/theism debate.

    A key feature of the collection is a dialogue between Raymond Tallis and Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury. Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide will interest anyone who is concerned about the clash between the religious and the secular and how to move beyond it, as well as students of ethics, philosophy of religion and religious studies.

    Preface Brian Pearce

    Part 1: A Dialogue

    1. Science, stories, and the self Raymond Tallis and Rowan Williams

    Part 2: Knowledge and language

    2. Signifying nothing: how the religious and non-religious can speak the same language Nick Spencer

    3. The myth of mythos Julian Baggini

    4. Why do religious believers and non-believers see one another as irrational? Stephen Law

    5. Atheism and history Jonathan Rée

    6. Atheism and naturalism Fiona Ellis

    7. The compatibility of science and religion? Fern Elsdon-Baker

    Part 3: Ethics and values

    8. Beyond theism and atheism: the search for truth Anthony Carroll

    9. Ethics and values: how much common ground? Richard Norman

    10. Faith, ethics and values Robin Gill

    11. The spiritual and the sacred: prospects for convergence between religious and non-religious outlooks John Cottingham

    12. Matters of life and death Anna Strham

    13. Our proud and angry dust: secular and religious continuities Michael McGhee

    Part 4: Diversity and dialogue

    14. Polar opposites? Diversity and dialogue among the Religious and Nonreligious Lois Lee

    15. Belonging without believing: religion, atheism and Islam today Dilwar Hussain

    16. The ocean of being and the web of becomings: the pilgrim’s progress on Indic horizons Ankur Barua

    17. Religiosity and secularity in Europe Simon Glendinning

    18. Engagement between religious and non-religious in a plural society Andrew Copson

    19. Siblings under the skin: Charles Taylor on religious believers and non-believers in A Secular Age Ruth Abbey

    20. Filling the space between: what can we learn from Plato? Angie Hobbs

    Part 5: Conclusion

    21. Continuing the dialogue Anthony Carroll and Richard Norman.



    Anthony Carroll is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Theology at Heythrop College, University of London, UK. His publications include Protestant Modernity: Weber, Secularization, and Protestantism (2007), and he is an Anglican priest.

    Richard Norman is Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Kent, UK. His publications include On Humanism (2nd edition 2012), and he is a founder-member of the Humanist Philosophers’ Group, and a Patron of the British Humanist Association.

    "This is a book which deserves to be prescribed reading for all prospective teachers (not only ‘religion’ specialists), journalists, and community leaders. It is hugely informative and a treasure for repeated reflection." - Brian Gates, Journal of Beliefs & Values

    "I thoroughly enjoyed this series of essays edited by two people at the forefront of the dialogue between religion and atheism. The writing constantly shifts focus and creates surprises. It covers a huge range of themes from a variety of perspectives." - Alan Brine, National Adivser for Religous Education, RE Today

    "This book brings together many of the most accessible writers engaging in the religion/atheism debate, who in turn help to reframe it by uncovering the implicit assumptions of their own side, or by exploring the experiential and transformative elements that draw people to embrace different worldviews. Each chapter offers fresh insights, as well as thoughts that could take the dialogue in unexpectedly new directions." - Mark Vernon, www.markvernon.com

    "The strength of the collection is that it gives a good understanding of how many humanists and religious believers (those who are prepared to enter into dialogue) see the world. It should increase insight into why at this juncture in our cultural history the religion/atheism debate has become important." - Keith Ward, Regius Professor Emeritus of Divinity at Christ Church, Oxford and Research Professor at Heythrop College, London.

    "For a reader who is familiar with philosophical discussions about belief and unbelief there may not be much new information here. However, the careful way in which the various authors approach the conversation, and the many angles from which the divide is considered, is an edifying read even for scholars who are deeply entrenched in this sort of religious philosophy. By collecting essays on such a long-considered topic, Carrol and Norman cannot have hoped to break new ground so much as offer solid footing to those hoping to take the bite out of this conversation. In collecting such a thoughtful group of essays by authors who take the divide seriously and approach it tactfully, this book is a sizeable step in that direction." - Robert Lee , Florida State University