cover image Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age

Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age

Katherine Ozment. Harper Wave, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-230511-4

Nonplussed by her young son’s question “What are we?” when they saw a Greek Orthodox procession, secular writer Ozment answered, “We’re nothing.” She writes, “I decided then and there that I would seek a better answer for my son, for myself, and for my family. I knew that we were something, but what?” In this wide-ranging book, Ozment, a journalist and former senior editor at National Geographic, skillfully weaves together interviews with cutting-edge academic experts, her personal story, helpful statistics, and her experiences attending gatherings across the U.S. where she talked with many others on the same quest. Detailing the sense of loss she and others have felt without the benefits of traditional religion—“identity and belonging, rituals, shared stories, moral authority, and belief in God and the afterlife”—Ozment then delves into the many ways secular Americans are trying to build community and shared meaning, with a keen eye for the paradoxes and hazards of those efforts. Her focus throughout is finding ways to raise honest, kind, and compassionate children outside of a religious framework. The author includes extensive resource information for others on a similar search, including lists of books for children by age group. This well-crafted, accessible exploration of a pressing topic, full of hard questions and astute observations, can serve as a springboard for discussion by parents—and others—who wonder whether people “need God to be good.” [em](July) [/em]