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.

4 comments:

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...

Bill,

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.

--Eric

Bill Clifton said...

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