Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious

Reframed and Expanded

Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious

Reframed and Expanded

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We can't just be done with religion, argues David Dark. The fact of religion is the fact of us. Religion is the witness of everything we're up to--for better or worse.

David Dark is one of today's most respected thinkers, public intellectuals, and cultural critics at the intersection of faith and culture. Since its original release, Dark's Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious has become essential reading for those engaged in the conversation on religion in contemporary American society. Now, Dark returns to his classic text and offers us a revised, expanded, and reframed edition that reflects a more expansive understanding, employs inclusive language, and tackles the most pressing issues of the day.

With the same keen powers of cultural observation, candor, and wit his readers have come to know and love, Dark weaves in current themes around the pandemic and vaccine responses, Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements, Critical Race Theory, and more. By looking intentionally at our weird religious background (we all have one), he helps us acknowledge the content of our everyday existence--the good, the bad, and the glaringly inconsistent. When we make peace with the idea of being religious, we can more practically envision an undivided life.


"Effectively skewering a central fallacy of the age, David Dark argues that at the deepest level no one is more or less religious than anyone else. With his premise granted, new avenues for ownership, responsibility, and a renewed attentiveness to all we say, do and think arise. Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious is a call to consciousness and the compassion that accompanies the sacred insight that the whole world is kin and everything belongs."

Richard Rohr, author of Everything Belongs

"For those of us who claim to be religious and those of us who religiously deny such labels, Dark grants us the gift and burden to think deeply about the imagination, scaffolding, and consequences of our religiosity. In reading his journey and cautions, my sense of personal accountability and religious identity were expanded. Such is a book that reads the reader and if we stick with it we gain insight into self and neighbor." 

Christina Edmondson, scholar activist and host of Truth's Table

"David Dark is one of our most astute and necessary cultural critics. His work gracefully opens new doors of understanding and breaks down barriers between secular and non-, and it puts a lot of old mythology out to pasture with a daring affirmation at the heart of his radical critique. Life's Too Short refreshingly ropes everyone in, insisting that we're all in it together. We forget that."

Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic

"David Dark's commitment to embracing the world whole makes him the sort of writer who can say in all seriousness but with a twinkle in his eye, 'I believe Radiohead.' It's a style that might not please readers who think fast food should never share a table with haute cuisine, but such readers are not the ones Dark seems to have in mind."

Maria Browning, editor of Chapter 16

"Dark's book asks us to slow down, and really consider how we label each other, how we look at ourselves, and how the religious impulse runs through all we do. If you're feeling a little worn down, and all the negative feelings that come with the word 'religious' rub you the wrong way, this book provides the fresh perspective you need."

Jen Rose Yokel, The Rabbit Room

"Don't let an aversion toward that radioactive word dissuade you. Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious is a bracing manifesto for modern people and an optimism-infused love song to humanity. David Dark calls us to pay better, more generous attention to our own lives and the lives of others."

Sara Zarr, National Book Award finalist and author of The Lucy Variations

"David Dark renders futile the cherished modern ambition to opt out of human religiosity; religion, rather, is a road we can make by walking with open eyes and informed minds. No marvels of progress can save us from being heretics and holy fools, or prophets, seers, and miracle workers. Dark helps us recognize these characters (and more) on the radio, in a dreary parking lot and within ourselves."

Nathan Schneider, journalist, professor of Media Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, and author of Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy

"David Dark reimagines being religious as a collective action open to all and demonstrates that in a time skeptical of religion, it can be a source of meaningful work and life-giving pleasure and joy—and even of change."

Kaya Oakes, author of The Defiant Middle and faculty member in the College Writing Programs at University of California, Berkeley

"I am so very grateful for this book, which, among other things, demonstrates that answering 'Jedi' or 'Toni Morrison' when asked for your religious affiliation is a perfectly legitimate response to that question—thereby arguing us into another definition of what it means to be alive to wonder and mystery. And at a time in our culture when we seem to prefer our 'dialogues' to be conducted behind well-defended barricades from which we lob Twitter grenades, David Dark shows us that there could be another way to live with each other and speak with each other. Each sentence here is graced with a wisdom, humor, and humility that can't help but inspire us to be a little less suspicious of each other and to hope a little bit more—and if that isn't a rare gift of prophecy, I don't know what is."

Carlene Bauer, author of Frances and Bernard and Not That Kind of Girl

"Having read David Dark's book, I want to buy stock in Religion Unlimited, meaning that David helps us see why pronouncing religion dead or dying is shortsighted. The writing is muscular yet graceful, and the content is wise and insightful. You couldn't ask more from a book . . . and you couldn't ask for a more important subject."

Brian D. McLaren, author, speaker, activist

"David Dark is one of the most important prophetic voices of our day. Not content to unravel the basic fabric of our existence, Dark reweaves the fibers into a rich and vibrant vision of the flourishing religious life for which we were created."

C. Christopher Smith, founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books

"Luminous reckonings with the real. The result is a shock of recognition. Here alone are the comedy and chaos that define the human condition and lead us gently or not into the strange new world of grace. An irresistible triumph."

Charles Marsh, author of Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"This stuff is splendid, and it is David Dark more joyous and (dare I say it?) more upbeat than ever before. This is sheer gift. Pay attention."

Byron Borger, reviewer and bookseller

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506481661
  • eBook ISBN 9781506481678
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 7.5
  • Pages 215
  • Publication Date December 13, 2022