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Why Religions Work
God's Place In The World Today
by Eleanor Stoneham
Publisher:Circle Books imprint of John Hunt Publisjing Ltd
Why Religions Work could almost be called Ďa manifesto for religion in refutation of the atheist rhetoricí, because at the end of the day thatís pretty much how this book works.
In light of some of the atheistic and humanist agendas religion has become an object that is often spurned, rejected and ridiculed within secular society and yet this is without regard to its values, benefits and its underpinning structures to much of that society. Eleanor Stoneham puts forward, within the course of the book, an attempt to argue the objective point (based on scientific models of rationale) that religion of any type is an important and integral structure to society, and indeed it cannot - as many of itís opponents seem to put forward - be sidelined because despite the opposing rhetoric, religion is fundamental and integral to more of the worlds populace than not, therefore the arguments against religion are largely flawed and lacking in real scientific basis. Throughout this book Stoneham puts forward evidence for why religion is necessary, logical and of value, flagging up not only the standard religions but also newer modes of religion too.
At times I can see that some might argue that what is being offered is not as such an argument for religions so much as for the spiritual, but then as the author does try to point out and reconcile there is some degree to which the spiritual, for all itís own rhetoric these days, cannot be without the underpinning of a religion to structure it, form it, share it and maintain it. Few things exist in vacuum after all.
This is an excellent book for those who want to look deeper at how religion is key to society and for those wanting perhaps a stronger line of refutation of the secular humanist rhetoric that is not tied to a single religion or faith, but rather upholds the place of faith as found in religions and within the psyche and society of humankind as a necessary thing. It is not a harsh critique or condemnation but rather it is well reasoned, researched and provides a gentle but firm refutation of other's ill-formed arguments, thus making it a joy to read.
Reviewer: Melanie Carroll (29/10/12)