Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods
atheism means leaving religion behind. You give up the crutch of
prayer, and the unknown of spirituality. In the last few years, you
may have noticed books that address spirituality and the atheist.
None of these books gave an answer. They all seemed to miss the mark
of recommendation; e.g., The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality
by Andre Comte-Sponville, and Spirituality for the Skeptic by
Robert C. Solomon.
Maisel has written a book that presents The Atheist Way. In
one hundred seventy-five pages, he molds an atheist way of living
well without gods. What people need, according to Maisel, is to make
meaning. It is our human quest to make meaning that result in an
integrated person. It is this quest to make meaning that appears to
distinguish humanity from other living creatures. Maisel offers a
brief look at faith-based spirituality, but dismisses it: "The
mind is a terrible thing to waste on superstitions, and I am thrilled
to have my mind return from its indulgent philosophical wanderings."
At the same time he recognizes "the lack of community and not
having a ‘church home,' which may not be comprehensible
to an atheist who didn't grow up in one," is something
that creates meaning for some people. However, atheists are still
better off despite "lacking the certainty and security of
knowing I have the answer and that God is going to take care of me....
In our freedom, we are offered signature truths about reality:
That human meaning is subjective and malleable; 2) that self-interest
can be discussed internally, leading to thoughtful decisions about
what we intend our life to signify; and 3) that because this process
is available to us, we can create ourselves in our own best image,
marrying ‘high values' and ordinary pleasures in such a
way that we feel proud about ourselves, while getting a full measure
of happiness our of life."
do we create meaning? What are the answers? Is there a formula that
Maisel has to offer? Meaning is private, personal, individual, and
subjective discovery. Putting the responsibility on the person, we
may: 1) ignore the problem, 2) hunt for meaning as something lost, 3)
submit to authority, 4) say that all is subjective, and 5) stare too
long at reality but fail to discover the reality. "In the end,
we may elect to pursue ‘passionate meaning-making.'"
Maisel strongly endorses the
idea that we create ourselves and not submit to how others would
define us. He would have us invest in meaning. It is where we
invest that reveals who we are and the meaning we make.
Maisel's experience as a psychotherapist, philosopher, and
cultural observer has guided many creative people to make their
meaning. He recognizes the roots of belief that attach to those who
become atheists. In that transition from spiritually driven to
atheist, some become lost in a search for meaning. We must realize
that ‘self-awareness will not simply happen of its own accord.'
Start making meaning by writing ‘your life purpose statement,
whether it is a word, a sentence, or a page. This step helps you to
continue making meaning in your life.
your search to discover the terms that you fill with understanding,
try ‘making meaning, investing meaning, reinvesting meaning,
divesting meaning, meaning adventure, meaning container, meaning
crisis, meaning conflict, meaning disturbance...etc.'.
Eric Maisel does not give the formula, but he tells us that meaning
is a wellspring. "You make it; it comes out of you; it is new
each day; it is infinitely variable." Making meaning is a
process. It changes and evolves as we do...You announce that
you are the sole arbiter of meaning in your life, you nominate
yourself as the hero of your own story, and you give up all religions
and supernatural enthusiasms."
Maisel has written a book that encourages us to make our self and the
meaning within that human being. In reading this book, you may be
encouraged to read anyone of his many books. It may be that you are
coping with depression - read The Van Gogh Blues.
Perhaps you want to write - try The Art of the Book Proposal
and A Writer's Space. If you need inspiration -
explore Coaching the Artist Within or Creativity for Life.
When you need a step-by-step guide to completing your art -
examine Fearless Creating. None of them will disappoint and
all will stimulate you to make meaning.