Humanism: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Religion is currently gaining a much higher profile.

The number of faith schools is increasingly, and religious points of view are being aired more frequently in the media.

As religion's profile rises, those who reject religion, including humanists, often find themselves misunderstood, and occasionally misrepresented.

Stephen Law explores how humanism uses science and reason to make sense of the world, looking at how it encourages individual moral responsibility and shows that life can have meaning without religion.

Challenging some of the common misconceptions, he seeks to dispute the claims that atheism and humanism are 'faith positions' and that without God there can be no morality and our lives are left without purpose.

Looking at the history of humanism and its development as a philosophical alternative, he examines the arguments for and against the existence of God, and explores the role humanism plays in moral and secular societies, as well as in moral and religious education.

Using humanism to determine the meaning of life, he shows that there is a positive alternative to traditional religious belief. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 168 pages, Approx 15 black and white halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Popular philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780199553648



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I have heard a lot of really excellent things about the Very Short Introduction series, and I happened across this one at my university's library.Humanism is a topic with which I only had the very faintest familiarity, so I'm pretty sure it was a good topic with which I could start. Essentially, I knew that humanism is sometimes used as a synonym for atheism. Essentially, I was right; it didn't take very long to describe the meaning of humanism, so the majority of the book was taken up with the history of non-believers and, moreso, why humanism makes more sense than religiosity.The author fought to keep a tone of superiority from overtaking the text, with varying levels of success. Even as an atheist, I found myself occasionally wondering why he found it necessary to point out how terrible religion is in order to prove the validity of humanism.The book was comprehensive, for sure. It served its purpose in helping me learn the lay of the humanist land, and the further reading list (which I hope was not specific to this volume) wound be helpful to anyone wanting to delve deeper into the topic.