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Morality without God

A new wave of secular books has challenged religion’s claim to supply meaning and morality. Simon Blackburn reflects on the root of human values

By Simon Blackburn   April 2011

The Joy of Secularism: 11 Essays for how we live now Ed George Levine, (Princeton University Press, £24.95)

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris, (Bantam Press, £20.00)

When the sociologist Max Weber wrote of the disenchantment of the modern world in the late 19th and early 20th century, he struck a loud and resonant chord. Just look at the dog-eat-dog, bureaucratic, soulless world we live in. Ugh! How pleasant to dream of something better: a magical world unfolding in providential ways: perplexing, perhaps, and sometimes sad, but in the end benign, good and safe. How nice as well to be…

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