By David I. Orenstein, PhD
and Linda Ford Blaikie, LCSW.
David I. Orenstein, PhD
Linda Ford Blaikie, LCSW
“Atheists and other nonbelievers are per se immoral. … Since God is the source of all morality, it’s impossible for a nonbeliever to be a good person.”
That’s the conventional wisdom, especially among fundamentalist Christians. And it’s utterly false. Authors David Orenstein and Linda Ford Blaikie disprove the smear in the most persuasive possible way: by telling the stories of dozens of real-life nonbelievers who devote their lives to doing good for others.
Orenstein and Blaikie’s new book, Godless Grace: How Nonbelievers Are Making the World Safer, Richer and Kinder, portrays nonbelievers both from America and around the world. Some examples:
Orenstein and Blaikie describe not only what these folks do, but why. Hint: fear of hell has nothing to do with it!
Going beyond the individual profiles, Godless Grace presents a comprehensive picture of nonbelief around the world and predicts where the movement is heading. With a foreword by prominent secular professor Dr. Phil Zuckerman and an afterword by President of American Atheists David Silverman, it is a must-read for anyone looking for definitive proof that people can be "good without a god."
Dr. David Orenstein is a full professor and department chairperson at CUNY Medgar Evers College. He is a national and international speaker on issues related to the freethought movement. A primatologist by early training, his current writings can be found in American Atheist magazine, the Humanist Magazine and other print and online freethought publications. He also serves as the American Humanist Association’s representative to the United Nations through the DPI/NGO program. An activist in several non-belief organizations, he is a happy and optimistic freethinker who concludes that life is best lived when we are good without god.
Linda Ford Blaikie holds degrees in creative writing, nursing and social work. She has been a psychotherapist in private practice for the past 38 years in New York City. Her atheist activism began 7 years ago when she began leading a free support group for people leaving their religions. As a former devout Catholic, Linda feels she can understand and respect what religion offers people but is outraged when people judge nonbelievers, ipso facto, as immoral. She feels the moment has come to claim nonbelievers’ seat at the table in America, not to mention the countries that are so threatened by atheists that they murder them.
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"It's time to get rid of the misconception that nonbelievers are somehow lesser or even warped human beings: we're just as moral and generous as everyone else, and our lives have purpose—just not purpose derived from ancient works of fiction. Godless Grace goes a long way to dispelling these myths, as well as the unconscionable demonization of nonbelievers based solely on their dissent from widespread superstitions."
---Jerry Coyne, Ph.D., author and evolutionary biologist
"Godless Grace is indeed a book filled with grace. It does not proselytize; it shows by example that kindness, generosity and love are the deep underlying principles of secular humanism, with no strings attached. It should be read by theists as well as non-believers, and taken to heart."
---John Pielmeier, author of Agnes of God
"Assembling an international archive of inspiring personal narratives, this book forcefully dispels the myth that religious belief is the foundation of moral agency. These moving accounts of struggle, courage, and resilience from all over the world expand our awareness of the crucial humanitarian work being performed by non-believers who share a deep sense of empathy and ethical duty. Secular humanism, Orenstein and Blaikie amply demonstrate, can be a powerful force for good in motivating activism and care on behalf of victims of violence, poverty, oppression, and religious intolerance."
---Mario DiGangi, Ph.D., professor of English at CUNY and president of the Shakespeare Association of America
"Godless Grace is an essential read for atheists who seldom see anything positive and affirming written about their convictions, and for open-minded people of faith who have wondered how atheists construct morality without divine inspiration."
---Clare L. Boulanger, Ph.D., professor emeritus of anthropology at Colorado State University