Finding Purpose in a Godless World: Why We Care Even If the Universe Doesn't
A psychiatrist presents a compelling argument for how human purpose and caring emerged in a spontaneous and unguided universe.Can there be purpose without God? This book is about how human purpose and caring, like consciousness and absolutely everything else in existence, could plausibly have emerged and evolved unguided, bottom-up, in a spontaneous universe.A random world--which according to all the scientific evidence and despite our intuitions is the actual world we live in--is too often misconstrued as nihilistic, demotivating, or devoid of morality and meaning. Drawing on years of wide-ranging, intensive clinical experience as a psychiatrist, and his own family experience with cancer, Dr. Lewis helps readers understand how people cope with random adversity without relying on supernatural belief. In fact, as he explains, although coming to terms with randomness is often frightening, it can be liberating and empowering too.Written for those who desire a scientifically sound yet humanistic view of the world, Lewis's book examines science's inroads into the big questions that occupy religion and philosophy. He shows how our sense of purpose and meaning is entangled with mistaken intuitions that events in our lives happen for some intended cosmic reason and that the universe itself has inherent purpose. Dispelling this illusion, and integrating the findings of numerous scientific fields, he shows how not only the universe, life, and consciousness but also purpose, morality, and meaning could, in fact, have emerged and evolved spontaneously and unguided. There is persuasive evidence that these qualities evolved naturally and without mystery, biologically and culturally, in humans as conscious, goal-directed social animals.While acknowledging the social and psychological value of progressive forms of religion, the author respectfully critiques even the most sophisticated theistic arguments for a purposeful universe. Instead, he offers an evidence-based, realistic yet optimistic and empathetic perspective. This book will help people to see the scientific worldview of an unguided, spontaneous universe as awe-inspiring and foundational to building a more compassionate society.
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