Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A C Grayling Makes a Case for Humanism

by Gary Berg-Cross

 Philosopher extraordinaire A.C. Grayling, first Master of London’s New College of the Humanities, is on tour discussing ideas from his most recent book -The  God Argument; the Case Against Religion and For Humanism. He was recently in DC as part of a CFI event and Chris Mooney's Point of Inquiry conversation.

Grayling is very much the thoughtful man and this new book attempts a calm approach that “thoroughly and calmly to examine all the arguments offered in support of religious beliefs.” Although he borrows life examples from other New Atheists, Grayling is very much less combative in tone. But still confronting arguments (e.g.  ontological, cosmological-design arguments, Pascal's wager etc,) for the necessary existence of God and the value of religion as an institution.

 From these it is a short transition to the 2nd part of the book which is the argument for ethical Humanism as a way of living a good life given the belief that there are no supernatural beings. Without religious doctrine this ethics must therefore be drawn from human experience, a history of which he draws from classic Greco-Roman thinkers such as Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius.  These are well represented in his previous work The Good Book.

You can see a bit of Grayling's tone and generosity of spirit in a brief video introduction to this book at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYx_rayG4ec

 For a very good summary of Grayling lecturing at length on the book see:


God Argument: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2013/03/reviewed-the-god-argument-by-a-c-grayling.html

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