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Is God a Delusion?: A Reply to Religion's Cultured Despisersby Eric Reitan
Synopses & Reviews
The last few years have seen an escalation in angry attacks against religion and belief in God. Recent bestsellers such as Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion are just the most visible manifestation of a broader and more disturbing trend that views religion and theism as irrational—and even inherently evil. Responding with their own brand of vitriol, religious conservatives have been quick to strike back. But might there be a more balanced view between these extreme voices—a brand of theistic religion that respects science yet recognizes its limits; one that says "yes" to both reason and the deeper yearnings of the human soul?
In a wide-ranging discussion incorporating profound philosophical insights, Is God a Delusion? argues that today’s vocal religious critics have fixated on religion in its narrowest form. And in doing so they have failed to consider a religion whose essence is found not in inflexible doctrines, “infallible” holy books, or calcified institutions, but in a distinctive type of consciousness that points the way to a transcendent good beyond the world. With a philosophical nod to the revolutionary 19th-century theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, the text defends those who find in religion the fulfillment of an ancient and profoundly human desire: the hope that somewhere beyond the universe that science can observe lies a deeper reality, one characterized by love and wisdom. A reality we call God.
"Atheism — and contra-atheism — is a much overpublished topic, and Reitan, a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University, is late to the party. Nonetheless, he makes an elegantly argued response to Christopher Hitchens et al. that is refreshing in several respects. Neither polemical nor defensive, he writes primarily as a logician, rather than a believer. He brings into the contemporary fray many philosophers who reasoned well about God long ago: Anselm, Aquinas, Leibniz, Schleiermacher. He explains so many arguments so clearly that the book could function as an introductory philosophical text on the perennial subject of God's existence. He also looks squarely in the face of the contemporary horrors that many have used to argue for God's non-existence and still comes off the theodicy battleground with a sense of God as ethico-religious hope, 'the substance of things hoped for.' The clarity of his presentation should make this book useful after atheism has finished its moment in the sun." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Is God a Delusion? addresses the philosophical underpinnings of the recent proliferation of popular books attacking religious beliefs.
About the Author
Eric Reitan is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Oklahoma State University with more than thirty articles published in professional journals. In 2004 he was the recipient of Oklahoma State University's Junior Faculty Award for Scholarly Excellence.
Table of Contents
1. On Religion and Equivocation.
2. "The God Hypothesis" and the Concept of God.
3. Divine Tyranny and the Goodness of God.
4. Science, Transcendence, and Meaning.
5. Philosophy and God's Existence, Part I.
6. Philosophy and God's Existence, Part II.
7. Religious Consciousness.
8. The Substance of Things Hoped For.
9. Evil and the Meaning of Life.
10. The Root of All Evil?.
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