Recent Reviews for Stephen Uhl
Out of God's Closet: This Priest Psychologist Chooses Friendly Atheism (Book) - 8/9/2008 1:44:38 PM|
In a timely, thought-provoking semi-autobiography, Stephen F. Uhl, in Imagine No Superstition: The Power to Enjoy Life With No Guilt, No Shame, No Blame, gives readers much to consider.
Interestingly, Dr. Uhl began his book as a letter to his nieces and nephews; however, later expanded it for a much wider readership. It is also interesting that he shares this based upon his past time as a priest, his movement from a staunch believer to that of an agnostic, and then to an atheist, as well as a practicing psychologist. With this background, his book provides well-documented, well-researched information considered through a breadth of experience and application.
Dr. Uhl takes us through an extensive overview of the historical dogma of various world religions. Moving from the “high” he felt when he truly believed he could absolve sinners of guilt (p.11), he moves through his years of additional learning and discussions to the point where he no longer believed as a credulous child (p.13). Gradually, he began to see the practices of the church as superstitious and lacking in rational thinking, noting that in his private practice, he worked to help his clients feel that they are self-responsible in dealing with perceived problems and pleasures (p.15).
Moving through many “heavy” topics, the first being whether religion is harmful to society, the author breaks at various points, throwing in a brief, relevant joke. It is clear that the writer is trying insofar as possible to present his views in an open and yet concerned manner. His goal is to eliminate the concept of superstition: defined by Webster as the “belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.” Noting that billions of men and women still believe in God, Allah, Yahweh, Satan or some other Power Higher than themselves...it is important that we examine that widely held premise...” (pps. 32-32)
Pointing out that believers need no proof as to the existence of God, he quickly states, “Reasoning humans, however, need convincing evidence in regard to such a basic and important matter.” (p. 37) He continues, “I think the most destructive result of subjecting reason to faith is the loss of respect for our highest power, the logical human mind with its ability to problem solve responsibly.” (p. 50)
Indicating that superstition beliefs are the problematic basis of WAR when each of the divided groups empathically state that “We Are Right,” he asks that we assume for just a day that God does not really exist...that other “bad” guys resemble us “good” guys, that we are really quite like each other...[they] get hungry, tired, lonely...make love, just like we do. Can we think together, negotiate about real, measurable things, [and] leave out our superstitions...while we make practical rational deals?” (p.61)
After further consideration of concepts of guilt and responsibility, as well as faith taken to extremes, the author introduces “Practical Atheism” and consideration of what life might be without God. Uhl contends that “it is futile for natural man to try to logically prove or disprove an assumed supernatural being: it is simply beyond man’s ability to know beyond this world of nature.” (p. 141) With the elimination of our superstitions would come control of fear and greed.
The United States would have better tax legislation since there would no provision for tax exemption, and we would come to see honest politicians. There would be increased responsibility and a deeper sense of unity among citizens. The United States would seem friendlier to other nations. We would have improved parental and educational effectiveness and improved functioning of our justice system.
Noting that there is one rule we should all follow, The Golden Rule, Uhl points out that this principle has been in existence without regard to religion. The Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would reasonably want and expect them to treat you if your roles were reversed” is an important guide for human happiness and productivity and is quite common-sensical. (p. 164)
I found Imagine No Superstition a well-written, excellent presentation of the author’s philosophy of life. Indeed, I agree with the major thrust he presents regarding the Golden Rule. I wonder, though--if Dr.Uhl had been a former news reporter who had personally seen the destruction that can be caused through supposed “freedom of speech,” could he not have just as easily brought together all the negative factors of news reporting to justify and eliminate distribution of information and knowledge? Can we look at extreme examples of failures, caused by the humble humans that we are and thus justify to ourselves and others that we should move to eliminate not only our historical beliefs but also those that many billions now, today, believe?
While I found Dr. Uhl’s method of presenting negative arguments unsuccessful for myself, I did find his book an excellent gathering of what we, as thinking individuals who do believe in a God, should consider and reconsider time and again as we live together within today’s world. For surely none of us can negate the magnificent impact that living by the Golden Rule would have on our society, our world!
G. A. Bixler
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers
Why most people believe in God (Article) - 9/3/2007 1:49:46 PM
Wishful Thinking,i.e. Imagination Is More Powerful Than Knowledge...
Me Never Religious Look Around Not At Being Priest-But As Human Being
At This Worlds Ills...Created By Wishful Thinking,i.e. Mans Never Ending $ GREED $...
I Don't Believe In (God) I Accept Fact He Exists,i.e. (God) Threw Out That **Rope... You As I Either Hang On To It Or Simply You Hang Yourself In The (Lasso) Loop...
**(God) Couldn't Care Less...
Credit For The Write...
Why most people believe in God (Article) - 9/2/2007 10:17:06 AM
Dr. Uhl's provocative article provides a scientific explanation for mystical beliefs. I really enjoyed reading "Why Moist People Believe in God.
I Met a Friendly Atheist Today (Poetry) - 1/5/2009 8:00:33 PM
All philosophical approach deserves respect when it is open minded and generous. The same can be said about religions.
I Met a Friendly Atheist Today (Poetry) - 1/5/2009 5:52:49 PM
And now you've met two. Although, at times I am a borderline agnostic, while others I am a born again atheist.
I Met a Friendly Atheist Today (Poetry) - 1/2/2009 5:58:40 PM
Pray for them...we shall not judge as It is not our right.
Thanks for sharing this.