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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Hart to Heart: a rocking book!

I am reading David Bentley Hart's latest offering, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss (Yale, 2013). I came across it in a review in The Guardian newspaper written by someone sympathetic to atheism. This guy was raving about the book and described it as the one book every atheist should read. I am well into it now and I can see why he thought it was so good.

In essence all that the book seeks to do is to offer some generic clarification for the word "God." This is not a work in specifically Christian theology but it draws deeply on the classical Christian tradition.

The reason for the need for clarification is that much of the contemporary "God debate" begins with an assumption that we all know what we mean by "God" and so we can get on with the business of showing whether God does or does not exist. However, it is pretty clear from the arguments of the New Atheists that what they are arguing against is not God but a god; not Being Itself but a being, albeit a supreme being. And it is not simply them. The Intelligent Design movement also operates with a reduced notion of the divine as one causal agent operating in the world alongside others, i.e., a god, not God.

Not only does Hart beautifully spell out the classical notion of God but in so doing dissolves most of the so-called arguments against God and exposes the incoherence of naturalism.

Highly recommended.

3 comments:

Caleb said...

Robin,
I'm a Christian Universalist, who also is rethinking the penal substitution view of the atonement, (and currently reading Atonement, Justice and Peace, by Darrin Snyder Belousek, which is fabulous by the way), and I also am very much drawn towards Intelligent Design. I had heard that Hart does not agree with ID, and you echo these concerns at well, but I have never really understood these concerns. Can you elaborate?

Thanks

Robin Parry said...

Hi, yes ID is very attractive.

Good question

I have just posted some thoughts on it.

JD said...

It's an excellent book by one of my favourite theologians!