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Why We Need Religion


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Opiate for the Masses? Chapter One: Adventures in the Creation Museum Chapter Two: Sorrow, Death, and Emotional Management Chapter Three: Forgiveness and the Restart Button Chapter Four: Mental training: Peace, Resilience and Sacrifice Chapter Five: Ecstasy, Joy, and Play Chapter Six: Fear and Rage Epilogue

About the Author

Stephen T. Asma is a Professor of Philosophy and Founding Fellow of the Research Group in Mind, Science, and Culture at Columbia College, Chicago. He is the author of On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears and Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums.


"Balanced in its approach and careful in its research, Asma's fine book will appeal equally to religious and non-religious readers, and provides a genuinely fresh perspective on tired old discussions."- Publishers Weekly "A fascinating if unsettling read for those interested in religion or science."- Library Journal "The assumption of the 'new atheists' that religion does more harm than good has always been just that-an assumption, never backed by sound argument or persuasive evidence. Now Stephen Asma shows how much argument and evidence there is on the other side of the question. Why We Need Religion is a refreshingly original take on an old but urgently contemporary question. And it is a severe challenge to the naive belief that secularization will be our salvation."-Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God "Asma combines a deep and broad knowledge of religious traditions with the best that contemporary psychology, anthropology, and evolutionary biology have to offer. He makes a powerful case for the essential role of religion in helping us to manage our emotional lives and our relations with one another. And he does it with prose that is informal and engaging. This book gave me something to think about on almost every page."-Barry Schwartz, author of Practical Wisdom and Why We Work "Stephen Asma is amazingly productive and creative. I loved his last book on imagination. With Why We Need Religion, Asma has done it again, with a provocative engagement with a fundamental aspect of human life. This is both timely in our current age and a fruitful re-direction of our understandings."-Margaret Conkey, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, University of California Berkeley

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