In the Absence of God

In the Absence of God

Dwelling in the Presence of the Sacred

Book - 2010
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In his new book, bestselling author Sam Keen challenges the notions and habits we've formed about religion over the centuries in order for us to build a deeper faith, that is relevant today.
 
He asks:

* How has religion failed us'.
* Must we choose between dogmatic religion and atheism?
* How might religion unite rather than divide us?
 
The answers, Keen discovers, point the way back to the primal emotions, to the life-giving sense of dwelling in the presence of the sacred..
 
In the Absence of God sets out to recover the elemental experience of the sacred in everyday life. By appreciating emotions like wonder, gratitude, anxiety, joy, grief, reverence, compassion, outrage, hope and humility we may once again find ourselves in the presence of an unknowable but all present G-D. We may also regain the commonalities between Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other spirit traditions and end the contentious differences that have divided them and our world.
 
Publisher: New York : Harmony Books, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307462299
0307462293
Call Number: 204 KEEN
Characteristics: ix, 209 p. ; 22 cm
Subjects: Religion.
Spiritual life.
Spirituality.

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zanzibar
Oct 22, 2010

This book seems to be an ecumenical attempt to take adherents of Abrahamic religions beyond the literal dogma of their scriptures toward a shared underlying spirituality and value system. For people with a lingering sense that the "should" be religious, but doubts about the canonical beliefs of their native religion, I think this will be a rewarding, and possibly life-changing read.

However, in my opinion Keen succeeds, probably unintentionally, in taking his ecumenicism beyond that. It comes as close as anything I've read to explaining an underlying primal human spirituality. He does this by explaining our nebulous spiritual sense as being grounded in primal emotions.

As a strong atheist, I found this book a rich and thought provoking exploration of my own spirituality. Indeed, there is little for an atheist to disagree with in this book. There is only superficial lip-service paid to rejecting atheism. The phrase "intelligent creator" appears once, but is not developed in any depth. There is some mild name calling of prominent atheists (referring to them as "atheologians").

Also, throughout the book the word "God", and "G-d" (referring to a godhead concept) appear frequently. However, the development of these ideas is not far from the metaphorical sense in which Einstein and others use the words. If anything, it merely exposes a need which is common to many people to attach the work "God" to something, regardless of whether it bears any resemblance to the original use of the word.

I recommend this book to any atheists who want to develop a sense of their own spirituality, provided they are able to tolerate the use of the word "God" in a metaphorical sense.

The overall book is a light and easy read (200 pages, not very dense), so it is really just an introduction, but it could open important doors for those ready to explore.

My only criticisms would be: His language is at times overly flowery. There are profound ideas that are sometimes treated lightly, while other less significant ideas are explored in depth.

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