About This Book
In his last book, Ronald Dworkin addresses questions that men and women have asked through the ages: What is religion and what is God’s place in it? What is death and what is immortality? Based on the 2011 Einstein Lectures, Religion without God is inspired by remarks Einstein made that if religion consists of awe toward mysteries which “manifest themselves in the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, and which our dull faculties can comprehend only in the most primitive forms,” then, he, Einstein, was a religious person.
Dworkin joins Einstein’s sense of cosmic mystery and beauty to the claim that value is objective, independent of mind, and immanent in the world. He rejects the metaphysics of naturalism—that nothing is real except what can be studied by the natural sciences. Belief in God is one manifestation of this deeper worldview, but not the only one. The conviction that God underwrites value presupposes a prior commitment to the independent reality of that value—a commitment that is available to nonbelievers as well. So theists share a commitment with some atheists that is more fundamental than what divides them. Freedom of religion should flow not from a respect for belief in God but from the right to ethical independence.
Dworkin hoped that this short book would contribute to rational conversation and the softening of religious fear and hatred. Religion without God is the work of a humanist who recognized both the possibilities and limitations of humanity.
Table of Contents
1. Religious Atheism?
What Is Religion? The Metaphysical Core
Religious Science and Religious Value
Mystery and Intelligibility
Impersonal Gods: Tillich, Spinoza, and Pantheism
2. The Universe
Physics and the Sublime
How Could Beauty Guide Research?
But What Kind of Beauty Could This Be?
Is There a Way the Universe Just Is?
Inevitability and the Universe
The Beauty of Inevitability
3. Religious Freedom
The Constitutional Challenge
Is Religious Freedom Only about God?
Freedom Out of Control?
Conflict within Freedom
Is There Really a Right to Religious Freedom?
The New Religious Wars
4. Death and Immortality
About the Author
Ronald Dworkin was Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University. He was the 2007 winner of the Ludvig Holberg International Memorial Prize for his “pioneering scholarly work” of “worldwide impact.”