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Featured Book: How to Be an Agnostic


“Between religion and atheism,” goodbookguide.com reports, “is a third way, into which [Mark] Vernon takes his readers.” It is agnosticism, which, according to the author, “manifests itself best as an attitude: it is a way of life driven by the desire for ultimate things.” And where can it lead? He, with a Ph.D. in philosophy, answers in this book’s last sentence: “[A]s Jung noted, it’s only when you’re not afraid to grope in the dark that you’ve a chance at insight, love, hope—even faith.”

Once an Anglican priest, then a declared atheist, Vernon, after a nervous breakdown, came to be “disillusioned by both religion and irreligion,” The Times Literary Supplement attests. “The path Vernon traversed has led him to his present passionate commitment to a ‘learned ignorance,’ respecting the limits of human knowing, and convinced that God lies beyond those limits….” As the Church Times has it, “He defends ambiguity and undecidability with an almost Evangelical zeal.”

Dubiousdisciple.com lauds Vernon’s effort: “He writes intelligently, philosophically, and with a deep respect for past thinkers dating back to Socrates….” As when Vernon esteems what he calls the key Socratic insight, “that nothing of importance in life can be known with certainty.”

How To Be An Agnostic
By Mark Vernon
Palgrave MacMillan, 2011