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Spiritual Atheism

List Price: $14.95

January 19, 2010 | Paperback | 5 x 7, 120 Pages | ISBN 9781582435640
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"[A] bracing study of identity, self-consciousness, and the fear of death from an atheist perspective." —Booklist

Over the last 160 years, a great dilemma has been hatching out of Western spiritual consciousness. In our modern existence, we have lost faith in the traditional routes by which human beings have come to experience the Divine, and in an acceptance of oneself as having a place in the order of the universe.

In Spiritual Atheism, Steve Antinoff argues that the dilemma burning within the West has been given its most fundamental expression by Kirilov in Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed: “God is necessary, and so must exist… Yet I know that he doesn’t exist, and can’t exist… But don’t you understand that a man with two such ideas cannot go on living?” According to Antinoff, spiritual atheism begins with a triple realization: that our experience of ourselves and our world leaves us ultimately dissatisfied, that our dissatisfaction is intolerable and so must be broken through, and that there is no God.

Continuing where such writers as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris left off, Antinoff’s unique and prescient take on deity and spirituality makes this book a critical contribution to the understanding of the quest for salvation and enlightenment in a world full of chaos and need.

STEVE ANTINOFF has BA, MA, and PhD degrees, all in religion, from Temple University. He lived in Japan for fifteen years, where he studied Zen Buddhism. He currently teaches philosophy and religion at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.


“Slim but profound, Antinoff’s homage to the paradox or, to appropriate from the Zen Buddhist tradition, koan contends that the dilemma or koan at the heart of Western culture is simultaneously believing and disbelieving that God exists… In all, a bracing study of identity, self-consciousness, and the fear of death from an atheist perspective.” —Booklist

“In its own way, Spiritual Atheism is as powerful, brilliant and important as Camus’ treatise on the human condition, The Myth of Sisyphus. Antinoffs’s book is probably more useful because it confronts and dissects the daily fate we all share—our horror of oblivion—and presents a way of dealing with it.” —Stephen Berg, author of Cuckoo’s Blood

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