HOW to be an agnostic
The authentic spiritual quest is marked not by certainties but by questions and doubt. How To Be An Agnostic explores the wonder of science, the ups and downs of being 'spiritual but not religious', the insights of ancient philosophy, and God the biggest question.
Mark Vernon was an Anglican priest, left a conviction atheist, and now finds himself to be a committed, searching agnostic. Part personal story, part spiritual search, this journey through physics and philosophy concludes that the contemporary lust for certainty is demeaning of our humanity. We live in a time of spiritual crisis, but the key to wisdom – as Socrates, the great theologians and the best scientists know – is embracing the limits of our knowledge.
This much expanded edition was previously published as After Atheism, and includes new chapters looking at mindfulness meditation, pic'n'mix religion, quantum spirituality, the probability of God and why Stephen Hawking is wrong about nothing.
PRAISE'Mark Vernon - a former Anglican priest who left the church only to find dogmatic unbelief just as unsatisfying - shows how being an agnostic can be a modern version of the spiritual life. If you are discontented with simple-minded atheism and literal-minded faith, this is the book for you.'
John Gray, author of The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death
'This lucid and eminently readable book brings home to the reader the importance of recognising the limits of our knowledge. At a time when public and private discourse is often characterised by an aggressive and unrealistic certainty, it is an important contribution.'
Karen Armstrong, one of the world's leading commentators on religious affairs
'As ever, Mark Vernon writes with sharp insight and a generous understanding of how humans search and create meanings to sustain their lives. He is, quite simply, one of the few writers in England today who really understands the impulse to religious belief and how a faithless age can respond. There are few others I trust to bring such intelligence and sympathy to these issues.'
Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian