Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Atheist Delusions


I read a lot of books. Some of them are a joy to read, others are rewarding and informative. Once in a while I come across a book that is both. Atheist Delusions is one of those books.

David Bentley Hart is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, philosopher and theologian. And he has a jumbo-size axe to grind. As he explains in the first lines of the book's introduction:

"This book is in no sense an impartial work of history... In what follows my prejudices are transparent and unreserved, and my argument is in some respects wilfully extreme..."

What follows is 240 pages of glittering prose that demolishes many popular secular conceits, while demonstrating how the Christian message has shaped the civilization we live in, immeasurably for the better.

There are not many academic books that make me laugh out loud (well, not intentionally anyway). Hart's book did. Frequently.

This is not an eirenic book. To quote from pages 3-4:

"The God Delusion, an energetic attack on all religious belief, has just been released by Richard Dawkins, the zoologist and tireless tractarian, who - despite the embarrassing incapacity for philosophical reasoning - never fails to entrance his eager readers whith his rhetorical recklessness..."

he then goes on to dismiss Christopher Hitchins, Sam Harris and Philip Pullman with similar one-line put-downs, followed by:

"And one need hardly need mention the extraordinary sales achieved by Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, already a major film and surely the most lucrative novel every written by a borderline illiterate..."

To find out more about the book, visit Amazon.com and read some of the reviews. Oh, and if you do decide to read it, make sure you've got a dictionary handy. Dr Hart writes brilliantly, but he does like to let you know that his vocabulary is a little wider than most.

Thanks to Jason Clark for putting me on to this book

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4 comments:

Major Look said...

... are there any pictures in it?

brett jordan said...

if you stare at it long enough...

Teifion said...

Audiobook?

brett jordan said...

i very much doubt it Teifion... maybe your dad could make it a bed-time story book for you?

 
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