Daily Archives: 2011-05-23 21:25:19 UTC

The Good Book – a secular or humanist alternative to the Bible

Sydney Morning Herald cartoon of AC Grayling

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/review/book/the-good-book-20110422-1dr9h.html

This last weekend I listened to an interview with “teacher of philosophy” A. C. Grayling. (He is not a philosopher, he says: that label belongs to names like Aristotle and Socrates.) He was discussing his new book, The Good Book, which sounds cheeky enough, but which I learned was really both a very good idea and a book I will soon buy and read.

I heard that the book is popular enough to be used even by some couples getting married as the book on which they make their vows.

I knew of A. C. Grayling from his other books on philosophy, and in particular for his contribution to the”New Atheist” onslaught against religion. But there is no substitute for hearing the guy live in an interview — except having time and opportunity to grill him yourself, no doubt. His self-effacing jokes against philosophers serve as a lovely wine and appetizer before the meal. (He is taught by his wife when she tells him “Be philosophical about it: don’t think about it.”)

One thing I liked about his book, The Good Book, as he explained it, was that it was not — as many fear mongers have declared — an attack on religion or the Bible. (He has done that in other venues, as in his Against All Gods.) This is a positive, healthy alternative to the Bible. It is a series of statements –the great thoughts — of Spinoza, Hume, Plato, Aristotle, all the wise of the East (China) and the  West. It takes the best of the Bible, its handy division into chapters and verses, and applies them to the best thoughts of humanity –the thoughts that give us the best guide about how to think and live with ourselves and others. read more »