To Thrive Beyond Belief
To Thrive Beyond Belief
Plundering religion to benefit the “Nones”
About the Book
We all want to lead a life of excellence: an honest life; a creative life; a generous life; a life that, when it is over, leaves a monument of good memories. Once, religions claimed to own the map to that well-lived life. Today, for the many who don't make religion part of daily life--we who pollsters and sociologists like to call "Nones"--the old answers don't work, but the questions remain: Why do we exist? How should we behave? How do we face death? In this book we look for secular tools for the well-lived life. We pick from various religions the things they did well, but we prefer answers that don't depend on dogma, and above all, answers supported by contemporary science. With them we can thrive, beyond belief.
Table of Contents
- What’s ahead in these chapters
Chapter 1: What Are the Benefits of a Religious Practice?
- What’s the cost?
- Existential validity
- Contemplation and tranquility
- Ritual and pageantry
- Ethical structure
- Comfort facing death and loss
Chapter 2: Finding Validity
- The basic choice: contingent, or not?
- Consequences of a predetermined nature
- Surviving Absurdity
- On being a mere accident
- Filling the Abyss with light
- Revelation without end
- Bestriding the world
- The price of knowledge
- Being more than a spear-carrier
Chapter 3: Finding Community
- What the research shows
- Opportunities for community
- Obstacles to community
- Confession good for the body
Chapter 4: Contemplation and Tranquility
- The many practices of tranquility
- Contemplative practices
- Cultivating a limitless heart
- The efficacy of prayer
Chapter 5: Using Ritual
- Doing lucky science
- Rituals are everywhere
- Uses of ritual
- Elements of ritual
- Unmaking rituals
- Making rituals
Chapter 6: The Usefulness of Heroes
- Self-definition and Heros
- Are there heroes any more?
- Recognizing excellence
- Finding heroes
Chapter 7: Articulating Your Ethics
- Uses of an ethical code
- What a code is not
- Your Ethical Touchstone
- Candidate guidelines
- Your own guidelines
Chapter 8: Death and Dying
- Ten billion to die
- Fighting the fear
- Using death to motivate virtue
- Living with the dying
- Arranging your own affairs
Chapter 9: Being Happier
- Positive Psychology
- The Happiness Set-Point
- The weakness of circumstance
- Building toward happiness
Chapter 10: Contentment and Resilience
- Freedom from debt
- Having nothing to hide
- Learning Optimism
- Chapter 11: A Partner in Infinity’s Dance
- Appendix A: Lubben Social Network Scale
All the References
- Recommended Books
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