Book Recommendation: Sleeping With Extraterrestrials by Wendy Kaminer

Amid the brilliance of Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and Hitchens' books, Wendy Kaminer's Sleeping With Extraterrestrials may have been overlooked. Written just a couple of years before 9/11, this book breaks some important ground in the New Atheist movement. Kaminer takes the wise step of refraining from criticizing a person's individual beliefs, and goes so far as to confess a personal adherence to homeopathy as a way of making her central point. It is only when individual beliefs coalesce into a collective one, and then begin encroaching on secular areas, that it becomes truly harmful and needs to be questioned and countered. 

Ms. Kaminer applies this not only to organized religions, but also to New Age movements and what she refers to as the "therapeutic culture." It's an even-handed and fascinating commentary on the climate of our times, in which an incisive wit such as Twain's or Mencken's would now be censored and suppressed out of fear of offending religious leaders and their followers.

My favorite quote:

Page 14 (hardcover): "As an agnostic, nominal member of a minority faith, I have always been sensitive to the majoritarianism of assaults on secular government, which are, in effect, assaults on the individual religious experiences of minorities."  

If you've missed this one, check it out.

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