Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age

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9780062305138: Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age
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Publishers Weekly "Best Books of 2016"

Spirituality & Health Magazine Best Book of 2016

Nautilus Gold Award Winner 2016: Religion and Spirituality of Other Traditions

Religion News Association, First Place: Excellence in Nonfiction Religion Books

Meet “the Nones”—In this thought-provoking exploration of secular America, celebrated journalist Katherine Ozment takes readers on a quest to understand the trends and ramifications of a nation in flight from organized religion.

Studies show that religion makes us happier, healthier and more giving, connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. Most Americans are raised in a religious tradition, but in recent decades many have begun to leave religion, and with it their ancient rituals, mythic narratives, and sense of belonging.

So how do the nonreligious fill the need for ritual, story, community, and, above all, purpose and meaning without the one-stop shop of religion? What do they do with the space left after religion? With Nones swelling to one-fourth of American adults, and more than one-third of those under thirty, these questions have never been more urgent.

Writer, journalist, and secular mother of three Katherine Ozment came face-to-face with the fundamental issue of the Nones when her son asked her the simplest of questions: “what are we?” Unsettled by her reply—“Nothing”—she set out on a journey to find a better answer. She traversed the frontier of American secular life, sought guidance in science and the humanities, talked with noted scholars, and wrestled with her own family’s attempts to find meaning and connection after religion.

Insightful, surprising, and compelling, Grace Without God is both a personal and critical exploration of the many ways nonreligious Americans create their own meaning and purpose in an increasingly secular age.

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A THOUGHT-PROVOKING EXPLORATION OF HOW TO LIVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE WITHOUT RELIGION.

Meet the “Nones,” a rapidly growing group of religiously unaffiliated Americans (so-called because they check the box that reads, essentially, “none of the above” when asked about their faith). While many Americans are raised in a religious tradition, recent decades have seen large numbers of families drift from their churches and synagogues, temples and mosques, and abandon faith-based practices. But what is lost when we leave religion?

Faith traditions give us a moral grounding and a sense of identity by connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. But without the one-stop shop of religion, how do the nonreligious fill the need for ritual, story, community, and, above all, purpose and meaning? With a quarter of Americans identifying as religiously unaffiliated, these questions have never been more urgent.

Katherine Ozment—writer, journalist, and mother of three—comes face-to-face with the fundamental issue of the Nones when her son asks her the simplest of questions: “What are we?” Unsettled by the only reply she can summon—“Nothing”—she sets out on a journey across the changing landscape of America to find a better answer.

Insightful, surprising, and compelling, Ozment’s search is both a personal and critical exploration, inspiring readers of all backgrounds to find their own way forward to a meaningful life.

About the Author:

Katherine Ozment is an award-winning journalist and former senior editor at National Geographic. Her essays and articles have been widely published in such venues as the New York Times, National Geographic, and Salon. She lives in Chicago with her husband and children.

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