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What Should I Believe? Paperback – 3 Oct 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (3 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415466792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415466790
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"Dorothy Rowe brings a refreshingly sane voice to the fraught, confusing but vital discussion of our beliefs about life, death and reality. Looking past the content of beliefs, she asks why people believe as they do and describes with wonderful lucidity how deep-seated emotions shape our ideas about life and these, in turn, mold our experience of it. This book is a timely reminder that we choose what we believe and how we believe it, and a passionate, liberating argument for self-awareness." - Vishvapani, Buddhist writer and broadcaster

"Dorothy Rowe casts a bracingly cool eye on the fantasies which can inform religious belief. An important and robust attack on the self-serving aspects of religion." - Gwyneth Lewis

"An important and moving account of our beliefs in life and death." - Lewis Wolpert FRS, Emeritus Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology, University College, London

"Dorothy Rowe uses her exceptional gifts of wisdom, common sense and clarity of thought to explain the nature of religious belief and to show us, as only she can, how to confront the problem of death." - Carmen Callil

Too often those who write about religion seek to convert, inflame, or condemn. At a time when belief in God has never been more controversial and debated, the sane, balanced and wise voice of Dorothy Rowe comes as manna from heaven. - Peter Stanford, Catholic writer, broadcaster and biographer

'I am a great devotee of Dorothy's writing but I don't think it's appropriate for me to offer a quote for this particular book, since I am declared Christian - and happy' - Fay Weldon

Dorothy’s book focuses minds, like mine, who do not allow themselves time to think things through’ - Terry Mullins, Chairman of the North London Humanist Group

About the Author

Dorothy Rowe is a psychologist and author of 13 books, including the worldwide best seller Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison. She is Australian and divides her time between London and Sydney.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Dorothy Rowe's "What Should I Believe? Why Our Beliefs About the Nature of Death and the Purpose of Life Dominate Our Lives" has been billed in some quarters almost as an offering to the religion debate similar to those in recent times of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and A.C. Grayling, albeit more moderate in tone. I have to admit that, having read all these and more and being in enthusiastic and complete agreement with them all, it was partly on the strength of such comparisons that I bought the present volume.
Such comparisons are erroneous -- as indeed I think Rowe would be the first to say. This is a work of psychology rather than physical science, anthropology or philosophy. There's quite a bit to say about religion, and as Rowe makes no bones about being an atheist, it is largely critical and these are the bits that I enjoyed most. But such parts are few and far between, and one has to wade through rather a lot of what I'm afraid I regarded as filler to find them.
The great fault of the book, in my view, is its lack of focus. The book's real thesis is in its subtitle rather than its main title, but the actual treatment of this fascinating theme -- how our beliefs about life and especially death shape our everyday lives -- was, in my view, quite sorely lacking. It's no disservice to Rowe to say that it's plainly obvious that we can hold either one of two opposing beliefs about death: either it is a wall -- the cessation of consciousness and thus the total and final end of everything we have ever been as sentient beings -- or it is a door: that is to say, the portal to some other form of post-mortem existence, as all the world's religions teach (albeit in vastly differing ways).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains a lot of commonsense statements and insights that I would expect from the author but there are far too many case histories which are too lengthy and contain material that is totally unnecessary to illustrate the points she was trying to make. Consequently there is the risk of becoming bored and skipping pages. This would be a shame as 'nuggets' of her unique genius could be missed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting discussion on religious beliefs, with well-researched historical background, and how our beliefs and perceptions affect us and those around us. A very absorbing book. Although the case histories were interesting, I would have liked to read more on how they developed.
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