Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reitan: Is God a Delusion?

This book looks remarkable, not least because it came out of Stillwater, Oklahoma! (Reitan is an associate professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University - a philosopher-cowboy?) Is God a Delusion, hot off the press from Wiley-Blackwell (a heady publisher if there ever was one), promises to be one of the more thoughtful responses to Richard Dawkins & Co.'s boorish broadsides against religious belief. Although it must be said that Dawkins will have to work much harder to match the withering vitriol and hellfire of a Chick tract. Christopher Hitchens, however, no mere novice when it comes to low-brow-blows, may find the goal attainable.
By the way, note Reitan's reference to Schleiermacher, early nineteenth-century German theologian and author of the classic work On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers. Many credit Schleiermacher as the father of modern liberal theology. Does Reitan seek to make such a connection, grounding his critical response in Enlightenment thought, or is he simply making use of a catchy title? Since it may be a very long time before I get to Reitan's book, dear readers, perhaps you will have the opportunity to investigate this question more speedily.


Eric Reitan said...

In my clearly unbiased opinion, the book featured in this blog post should move up higher in your reading list...

In fact, Schleiermacher's ON RELIGION: SPEECHES TO ITS CULTURED DESPISERS is one of the central inspirations for my book, and I make reference to Schleiermacher's thought throughout. So, it's not JUST a catchy subtitle (although I must admit it IS that). And while I might wish I were a philosopher-cowboy, the fact is that I'm a transplant from upstate New York, so I can't really claim the honor.

Bill Clifton said...

Professor Reitan,

Thanks for your unexpected comment and for visiting this blog. Quite honored! Personal recommendations by an author never fail to drive a book higher on my reading list, so I look forward to reading IS GOD A DELUSION? Of course, I'll have to add Schleiermacher, too, since I haven't yet read ON RELIGION. I'm sure I will have a question or two for you as I go.

Also, I have to confess as an OSU fan that I'm rooting for the Sooners in the upcoming game.

Eric Reitan said...


I've created a couple of venues for people to ask questions about my book or themes raised in the book, and to discuss with me or one another: my blog, www.thepietythatliesbetween.blogspot.com, and a facebook page for the book (don't have the url on hand, but the page name, inventively enough, is this: "Is God a Delusion? A Reply to Religion's Cultured Despisers (Book)".

Hope you enjoy the book when you get around to it.


Bill Clifton said...

I'll definitely check out your blog. Have a merry Christmas!