Journalist Ozment uses her own family’s story as the jumping off point for an engaging and well-researched look at secular humanism and the ways the nonreligious fill their need for belonging, moral guidance and meaning. With 20% of all adults (and over 30% of millennials) identifying as religiously unaffiliated, it’s increasingly useful to consider how a large swatch of America approaches ethics, culture, community, and ritual.
“In this wide-ranging book, Ozment, a journalist and former senior editor at National Geographic, skillfully weaves together interviews with cutting-edge academic experts, her personal story, helpful statistics, and her experiences attending gatherings across the U.S. where she talked with many others on the same quest. Detailing the sense of loss she and others have felt without the benefits of traditional religion—‘identity and belonging, rituals, shared stories, moral authority, and belief in God and the afterlife’—Ozment then delves into the many ways secular Americans are trying to build community and shared meaning, with a keen eye for the paradoxes and hazards of those efforts. Her focus throughout is finding ways to raise honest, kind, and compassionate children outside of a religious framework. …his well-crafted, accessible exploration of a pressing topic, full of hard questions and astute observations, can serve as a springboard for discussion by parents—and others—who wonder whether people ‘need God to be good.’”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age (9780062305114) by Katherine Ozment. $25.99 hardcover. 6/21/16 on sale.