Exploring Joy and Spirit in Atheism

Mondays in May, in the Classics in Religion series. This group is open to all and meets Mondays at 11 a.m. to Noon at the Penn Yan Public Library.

Poet Bob McDonough will guide us through discussion of three provocative books in May. He will use these books to explore the possibility and argue the desirability of finding a joyful, spiritual, atheistic approach to life.

Bob adds: “I will provide summaries of the books but I think the meetings will go better if others have read them, too. I found that all three books repaid reading, but the two Ehrenreich books are shorter and, in my opinion, better written than Pollan’s.” If you can’t read the books, you might want to explore online reviews and discussion about them! (If you plan to read any of the books, please contact the library, 315.536.6114, to place them on hold, so they can provide enough copies.)

May 6: The first book to be discussed will be Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich. She tells the development of her relation to the idea of God (she doesn’t believe it) and her feeling for the universe (it is charged with life).

Read more: Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything at Goodreads.com; review at The Telegraph.

May 13: Discussion will be centered on How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan. He reports that people who have “good trips” with psychedelic drugs (including himself) come to believe that the universe is full of love, and he argues for allowing use of these drugs to improve the lives of people who would be considered emotionally healthy. He remains an atheist.

Read more: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence at Goodreads.com; review at Massive Science.

May 20: The third book will be Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich. In it she argues that so many Americans are so obsessed by the effort to achieve perfect health that they neglect to enjoy life.

Read more: Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer, at Goodreads.com; review at The Guardian.

Facilitator: Robert E. McDonough retired as Professor of English from Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland in 2006. He has published No Other World (Cleveland State University Poetry Center) and Greatest Hits (Pudding House Press) and, with Kevin Prufer, is co-editing World’d Too Much, the selected poetry of Russell Atkins (CSU Poetry Center), which will be published in September.

One thought on “Exploring Joy and Spirit in Atheism

  1. Pingback: The Classics in Religion Series 2018-2019 – Cobblestone Springs Retreat Center

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