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With or without God Paperback – 28 Aug 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (28 Aug 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062294857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062294852
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gretta Vosper has the ability to transmit great truths in everyday language, with excellent illustrations and good humour, but she helps you deepen your thinking, review your beliefs but above all, the way we live!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Paton on 27 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback
As a member of the progressive Christian Network this is the kind of forward thinking which I believe is necessary.
Fundamentalists would not appreciate the content of this book but it has no threat to them.
I would recommend it to those who are doubting the future of traditional Christianity.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jasmin on 28 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author writes about whats important in this troubled world. Yes its about religion, BUT the real gem is about how we live, how we relate to our fellow human beings, and that MUST be important regardless of which God we follow.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
So glad I found this book 28 Oct 2011
By coredrock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book! Anyone who has ever called themselves religious, agnostic, atheist, or spiritual in any way can learn a lot about themselves and their world

Many readers who hold onto the super-natural images of our tribal human history will find the concepts unsettling. They will call it names (evil, poison, heresy, immoral) and use fear tactics that the reader should recognize. They are part of the issues that Gretta addresses in the book with great clarity!

Others will be totally engaged and ecstatic to hear what Gretta Vosper has to say.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
What would a non-theist church look like? 12 May 2014
By Andrew W. Johns - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Modern scientific discoveries and historical analyses are increasingly challenging traditional religious beliefs. Some respond to these challenged by denying the science, becoming ever more entrenched in their traditional, literalists understandings of religion. Others, concluding that science has shown God to be an entirely human construction, have rejected religion entirely. In the middle, mainstream liberal religion faces diminishing attendance and support, and is in danger of becoming irrelevant.

This book is an argument for a different approach, one that acknowledges the atheist conclusion that the theist God who can act in the world is, in fact, a product of our imagination. The author argues, quite passionately, that we don’t need such a God. Instead, she argues for “god” as an abstract concept that embodies the ideals we value the most: Love, Compassion, Justice. In her vision, we are all called to become this “god” to each other, in community, supporting each other as we strive to bring these values into reality in our world.

It is a compelling argument, but one that is not likely to persuade wide swaths of the population. For conservative believers, the call to reject the idea that God actually exists will be impossible to accept, and few of these believers will take the time to read these arguments to their conclusion. For those who have rejected religion entirely, while they may be willing to consider her arguments, I’m not sure how many would feel the need for the trappings of religion in the manner the author envisions.

This book probably will speak only to that small group of people who, like me, continue to feel an emotional connection to religion, even as we rationally conclude that beliefs of our church have no basis in reality. Unfortunately, I don’t know how many of us will have the courage to respond to her call to bring her vision of a non-theist church into being.

If you are curious about what a “God-less” church would look like or how it would function, I would encourage you to read this book. For those who can keep an open mind and reserve judgment, I think that this vision of a church for the future should, at a minimum, provide a different perspective for thought and discussion.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant and Brave 3 Mar 2013
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It is extremely rare to find a book about religion that is as wise and deeply thought out as this one, and I would recommend it no matter whether you are a closed minded religious zealot (as one reviewer apparently is), an equally closed minded atheist, or anything in between.

It is unfortunate that many people will not read this book simply because of its title, yet it has a profound message that should be discussed much more broadly in today's society. Hats off to Ms Vosper for her brave ability to speak the truth about what we know about Christianity, and by extension, every other religion. She understands the role of faith and community. One of my favourite quotes from the book states "we are called to be god in the world to one another". I have shared this book with people I care about, always with positive response, and I hope to share it with many more. The next time I am in Toronto, I hope I can get my copy signed by this wonderful author.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Can There Really be a Church "Without God"? 12 July 2014
By B. Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wanted to like this book. I was attracted by leafing through it and seeing that Vosper wants the church to be honest about modern biblical scholarship, which suggests that the Bible is a very human book with all the attending foibles and strengths. She also wants the church to hold fast to values of love and compassion. I agree completely with those sentiments.

Though I did read it thoroughly, I had trouble plowing through the book. Stylistically I'm afraid I found it very wordy. The book really could have easily been half as long and communicated its message perhaps even more effectively. I also found Vosper's tone frankly quite grumpy. She constantly complains in effect that all those folks who still believe in a personal God must just be deluding themselves and not really taking science and scholarship to heart. She also alludes to a lot of biblical and theological scholarship very briefly but doesn't explain those sources in any detail; I think folks without exposure to the kinds of sources she cites will miss a lot of the meaning.

Really the book deserves a title more like just "Without God." She doesn't believe in anything like what most people would think of as God or an entity "out there." It's not even clear whether she grants that there might be anything beyond the material universe as most scientists currently describe it. That doesn't shock me, and I would also welcome people with similar perspectives to be part of the church. But I found it kind of strange that she seems to think that (a) most everyone in the mainline churches agrees with her that there is no personal God, and (b) even more oddly, she thinks mainline churches need to scrub all traces of God and traditional thought from their liturgy and practice.

Though I'd personally like to see some changes to liturgies and practices, I would not realistically expect churches to remove God from their midst - at least not any time soon. I also found it odd that she doesn't seem to acknowledge that there are people in these churches who, even if they don't agree with traditional biblical and theological positions, still believe in a real divine presence and want to keep that as part of the church.

My question to her would be, if you simply cannot abide the belief and practices of the traditional churches, why stay at all? Why not head off and start your own group? Or join a group like the Unitarian Universalists or the Sunday Assembly?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I appreciated Great Vosper's critique of the liberal church 9 Aug 2014
By Philip J Woods - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I appreciated Great Vosper's critique of the liberal church, which I thought was insightful, helpful and illuminating; and I also appreciate that she has taken her congregation with her on this journey, which is no mean feat. However, I am left wondering why she still wants to hold on to the labels Christian and church (especially Christian), and as such didn't feel that the book took me as far as her analysis and critique suggests we should go.
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