I have been reading Greg Epstein’s new book. Apparently there are several different flavors of atheism. According to him I am a pragmatic atheist, which means that for me whether god(s) exists or not is irrelevant to living an ethical and successful life. I actually told an ethics class at a college that I thought the existence of god was irrelevant a few years back and almost every jaw in the room dropped. Apparently considering gods irrelevant is more shocking then not believing in gods at all. In my defense I was asked to present non-theistic ethics to them so the question of the existence of god was totally relevant to our discussion.
Regardless – I had no idea I was such a pragmatist. I’ve always considered myself an apathetic agnostic, atheist, ignostic apatheist. But what do I know. What is really important to me is not whether gods exist but rather once you have decided for yourself as an individual what you believe or don’t believe about gods, the next question is what is really important. Given what you believe, are you going to approach life with love or with fear and hate? And how does that affect your personal ethics? Your answer to this question, by the way, impacts me and everyone else on the planet. So yeah, color me pragmatic.
And that is why I am a Humanist. Humanism is a very pragmatic approach to living well and being a good person. That is why I titled my book – The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom. It isn’t a philosophy book so much as a book about the pragmatic reasons for being an ethical, compassionate and responsible person. If you want to learn more you can buy an advanced copy here: If this link is no longer good it means I found a publisher and you can find the new link on my website at

1 comment:

  1. I found Michael Berube's blog entry "Credo" from 2007 to be very useful in this regard:


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