The Meaning of Belief

The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View
by Tim Crane 2017

About the Author
Tim Crane is Professor of Philosophy at Central European University, Budapest.

About the Book
“[A] valuable and compact contribution to the dialogue between atheists and believers. Crane writes as an atheist to an atheist audience in hopes of reducing the combativeness stirred up by ‘New Atheists’ such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, but he also provides useful language for religionists about their own experiences. By identifying the religious experience in terms of ‘religious impulse’ and ‘identification’ linked under a canopy of the sacred, Crane situates religious belief as complexly human, rather than something that should die with the advent of science. Tolerance with a goal of living peaceably with religionists should be the atheist aim, argues Crane. Crane’s precise arguments, lucid writing, and astutely selected examples make this book enjoyable as well as clarifying. His concise unpacking of religion and violence in the context of war, as well as of the nitty-gritty of moral relativism, provides a vital lens for interpreting today’s politics.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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“As Tim Crane points out in The Meaning of Belief, a lucid critique of the many ways in which atheists have misunderstood religion, religious opinions or beliefs are not entitled to respect just because they are religious.”―Michael Ignatieff, New York Review of Books

“The Meaning of Belief prefers calm logic to bold catchphrases. It likely will not attract the attention given by supporters or detractors of the New Atheists’ shelf of screeds, but it invites poised reaction.”―John L. Murphy, PopMatters

“The Meaning of Belief is a breath of fresh air. Crane’s argument is as cogent and well-researched as his writing is accessible and lively. It is exciting to see someone who is unwavering in both their atheism and their defense of religion as rational response to human needs that is deserving of respect. His book should be required reading for anyone, believer or nonbeliever, who wishes to engage with ‘the other side’ of the religious divide.”―Alexandra Greenwald, National Catholic Reporter