How To Be An Agnostic

Paperback | March 15, 2011

byMark Vernon

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The authentic spiritual quest is marked not by certainties but by questions and doubt. How To Be An Agnostic explores the wonder of science, the ups and downs of being ‘spiritual but not religious,’ the insights of ancient philosophy, and God, the biggest question.

Mark Vernon was an Anglican priest, left a conviction atheist, and now finds himself to be a committed, searching agnostic. Part personal story, part spiritual search, this journey through physics and philosophy concludes that the contemporary lust for certainty is demeaning of our humanity. We live in a time of spiritual crisis, but the key to wisdom – as Socrates, the great theologians and the best scientists know – is embracing the limits of our knowledge.

This much expanded edition was previously published as After Atheism, and includes new chapters looking at mindfulness meditation, 'pic’n’mix' religion, quantum spirituality, the probability of God and why Stephen Hawking is wrong about nothing.

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The authentic spiritual quest is marked not by certainties but by questions and doubt. How To Be An Agnostic explores the wonder of science, the ups and downs of being ‘spiritual but not religious,’ the insights of ancient philosophy, and God, the biggest question. Mark Vernon was an Anglican priest, left a conviction atheist, and now ...

MARK VERNON began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England, left an atheist, and is now a searching agnostic on such things. He is a writer and journalist, other titles including The Meaning of Friendship and Wellbeing, part of the Art of Living series he edits. He writes regularly for The Guardian and New Statesmen ...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7.9 × 5.09 × 0.86 inPublished:March 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230293212

ISBN - 13:9780230293212

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: There’s Something, not Nothing
Socrates’ Quest: The Agnostic Spirit
Cosmic Religion: How Science does God
How to Be Human: Science and Ethics
Socrates or Buddha? On Being Spiritual but not Religious
Bad Faith: Religion as Certainty
Christian Agnosticism: Learned Ignorance
Following Socrates: A Way of Life
How To Be An Agnostic: An A-Z
Further reading and references
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Mark Vernon - a former Anglican priest who left the church only to find dogmatic unbelief just as unsatisfying - shows how being an agnostic can be a modern version of the spiritual life. If you are discontented with simple-minded atheism and literal-minded faith, this is the book for you." - John Gray, author of The Immortalization Commisssion: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death   "This lucid and eminently readable book brings home to the reader the importance of recognizing the limits of our knowledge. At a time when public and private discourse is often characterised by an aggressive and unrealistic certainty, it is an important contribution."- Karen Armstrong, one of the world's leading commentators on religious affairs"As ever, Mark Veron writes with sharp insight and a generous understanding of how humans search and create meanings to sustain their lives. He is, quite simply, one of the few writers in England today who really understands the impulse to religious belief and how a faithless age can respond. There are few others I trust to bring such intelligence and sympathy to these issues." - Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian "Between religion and atheism is a third way into which Vernon takes his readers. It is a challenging, cogently argued perspective." - Good Book Guide "For twenty years I have been waiting for a book that exposes the empty certainties of religious fundamentalism and its secular twin: scientific triumphalism. Mark Vernon has delivered that and much, much more." - Mark Dowd, broadcaster and film-maker "He defends ambiguity and undecidability with an almost Evangelical zeal. And because he writes with such a delicate blend of deft coolness on the one hand, and fervour on the other, many are likely to be both enchanted and persuaded by his apologetics." - Martyn Percy, Church Times "The strength of the book...is in challenging false certainties, whether pseudo-scientific or pseudo-religious." - Dolan Cummings, The Institute of Ideas "This book is more than a well-reasoned argument for agnosticism; it is a timely reminder of the recognition of human limits, in all areas, and a suggestion that the possibility of living within the mystery that is the world can be a good thing." - Robert L. Smith, Jr., International Journal of Public Theology