Katherine Ozment, "Grace Without God"
Meet “the Nones”—In this thought-provoking exploration of secular America, celebrated journalist Katherine Ozment takes readers on a quest to understand the trends and ramifications of a nation in flight from organized religion.
Studies show that religion makes us happier, healthier and more giving, connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. Most Americans are raised in a religious tradition, but in recent decades many have begun to leave religion, and with it their ancient rituals, mythic narratives, and sense of belonging.
So how do the nonreligious fill the need for ritual, story, community, and, above all, purpose and meaning without the one-stop shop of religion? What do they do with the space left after religion? With Nones swelling to one-fourth of American adults, and more than one-third of those under thirty, these questions have never been more urgent.
Writer, journalist, and secular mother of three Katherine Ozment came face-to-face with the fundamental issue of the Nones when her son asked her the simplest of questions: “what are we?” Unsettled by her reply—“Nothing”—she set out on a journey to find a better answer. She traversed the frontier of American secular life, sought guidance in science and the humanities, talked with noted scholars, and wrestled with her own family’s attempts to find meaning and connection after religion.
Insightful, surprising, and compelling, Grace Without God is both a personal and critical exploration of the many ways nonreligious Americans create their own meaning and purpose in an increasingly secular age.
“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.’” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
From the Authors website:
I'm the author of Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age. My book began with a simple question from my young son--"What are we?"--that I couldn't answer. I shrugged and told him, "Nothing." The minute I said it, I knew I would have to find a better answer--for him, for myself, and for my family. So I set out to write a book that ended up changing my life.
Grace Without God is an exploration of secular America and what the rising tide of religious disaffiliation means for individuals, families, and communities. As more and more of us leave the faith traditions in which we were raised, where do we go to find our people, our rituals, and a true sense of meaning and purpose? I hope my book will spark respectful conversation among the religious and nonreligious alike about these urgent and timely questions.
Before writing Grace Without God, I was a freelance writer, editor, and writing instructor. One highlight of my career was working as a senior editor at National Geographic magazine where I once rode a donkey through the desert of Israel and Jordan to recreate an ancient copper route. I've also written articles and essays for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, National Geographic, Salon, Fitness, and Boston.
I was born in Arkansas and have lived on both coasts but now make my home in Chicago with my husband and our three children. On my website, www.katherineozment.com, I continue to explore this rich topic and share the stories of others like me who have left religion and found "grace without God." -Katherine Ozment