Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheismby Bernard Schweizer
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While atheists such as Richard Dawkins have now become public figures, there is another and perhaps darker strain of religious rebellion that has remained out of sight--people who hate God. In this revealing book, Bernard Schweizer looks at men and women who do not question God's existence, but deny that He is merciful, competent, or good. Sifting through a wide range of literary and historical works, Schweizer finds that people hate God for a variety of reasons. Some are motivated by social injustice, human suffering, or natural catastrophes that God does not prevent. Some blame God for their personal tragedies. Schweizer concludes that, despite their blasphemous thoughts, these people tend to be creative and moral individuals, and include such literary lights as Friedrich Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, Rebecca West, Elie Wiesel, and Philip Pullman. Schweizer shows that literature is a fertile ground for God haters. Many authors, who dare not voice their negative attitude to God openly, turn to fiction to give vent to it. Indeed, Schweizer provides many new and startling readings of literary masterpieces, highlighting the undercurrent of hatred for God. Moreover, by probing the deeper mainsprings that cause sensible, rational, and moral beings to turn against God, Schweizer offers answers to some of the most vexing questions that beset human relationships with the divine.
"Bernard Schweizer makes a long overdue distinction between atheism the denial of God's existence and misotheism the morally inspired hatred of God, and, in the process, reintroduces us to some of the most subversive religious thinkers who have ever lived, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Gore Vidal and Zora Neale Hurston. Hating God is one of the most exhilarating excursions into religious studies that you will ever take!"
Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
"Schweizer skilfully plumbs pathology and pathos among real and imagined agonizers."The Journal of Theological Studies
- Oxford University Press
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Meet the Author
Bernard Schweizer is Associate Professor of English at Long Island University. He is the author of Rebecca West: Heroism, Rebellion, and the Female Epic and Radicals on the Road: The Politics of English Travel Writing in the 1930s.
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The author provides a very readable summary of the history of misotheism in the first half of the book and discussion of some relatively recent literary examples of misotheism in the second. As a lay person, I found it completely comprehensible. What I appreciated most was the objective treatment of the topic by the author. Even though theists might be challenged by the examples of misotheism cited, it would be hard to accuse the author of misotheism.