Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief

by Huston Smith. HarperCollins, 2001.

In this image-filled and lucidly argued book, author Huston Smith assesses religion's recent history, current state, and future significance. Two worldviews—the religious and the scientific—compete for the mind of the third millennium. Scientism, the belief in science as an all-encompassing worldview, claims to be the most reliable method for discerning fundamental reality. But science provides only one perspective. Science and religion are separate but interreleated domains; each must respect the other's sphere of competence. As science must not assume the role of religion, religion must not attempt to establish and validate itself on a scientific basis. The religious worldview, expressed through the stories of our faith, speak to the human heart’s profound quest for meaning. Smith's book is a plea to recover our religious narratives, defend institutional expressions of faith, and affirm ethical values. Those committed to the exploring the foundations of faith, through individual or group reflection, will find much support from this study.