Huston Smith is known as the world’s leading scholar on world religions. The book was published in 2000.

It is worth mentioning that I am an atheist and classical liberal (a belief in individual liberty, free speech, free market capitalism, and limited government).


Huston Smith argues against scientism and for a re-alliance between science and religion.

Interesting Ideas

Smith wrote that human beings have an impulse for transcendence and to graduate from the human condition, which was one of his chief ideas of the book.

In the second half of book he talked about some of the limits of science which for example included that science is descriptive rather than normative, and that science doesn’t ask ultimate philosophical questions such as what is the meaning of life.


Smith accurately pointed out the flaws of postmodernism and moral relativism, as well as the disasters of Marxism.

Another positive was that the book provided courageous insights into human existence revolving around the idea of transcendence.

Some Criticisms

The book was written in a relaxed style and was often tedious. Kirkus Reviews called it “garrulous” in style. A review from L.L. Martin called it “at times chatty” and the book has a lot of anecdotes.

Check out his book, here: (Amazon link)

If you are interested in topics in militant atheism and the limits of science, I’ve written a few articles including A Critique of Western Scientists, 15 Perspectives on the Limits of Science, and The Search for Truth (an essay on religion, science, language, and the meaning of life).


Kirkus Review mentioned: Link
L. L. Martin Review mentioned: Link


Smith, Huston. Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. Kindle Edition.