On Religion

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John D. Caputo explores the very roots of religious thinking in this thought-provoking book. Compelling questions come up along the way: 'What do I love when I love my God?' and 'What can Star Wars tell us about the contemporary use of religion?' (are we always trying to find a way of saying 'God be with you'?) Why is religion for many a source of moral guidance in a postmodern, nihilistic age? Is it possible to have 'religion without religion'?
Drawing on contemporary images of religion, such as Robert Duvall's film The Apostle, Caputo also provides some fascinating and imaginative insights into religious fundamentalism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Caputo redefines religion as love of the unforeseeable. And, as that is a given in life, his definition of religiosity pretty much equates with my definition of joie de vivre. So the opposite of a religious person is not an atheist, merely a 'pusillanimous curmudgeon'. But it's not all just clever wordplay. With his unorthodox definitions in place, Caputo goes on to denounce dogma, put Marx, Nietzsche and Freud in their historical places and to reunite religion, mysticism and science. On top of all that, there's a detailed deconstruction of religion in Star Wars. I'm converted."
Laurence Phelan, The Independent on Sunday

"Intellectual without being overly academic...one cheers his vigour and relishes his insights into the paradoxical, ambiguous nature of religion and religious belief. Recommended."
Library Journal

"I feel obliged to warn readers that I loved this book. I loved its passion, loved its ideas, and loved the alternately sassy and incantatory rhythms of its prose ... get this book and read it."
- Sea of Faith

"...this volume is both a stimulating read and a useful introduction to a strand of thinking about religion inaugurated by Jacques Derrida and other post-modernist thinkers. Caputo's writing avoids the abstractions and complications beloved of academic philosophy in favor of a vernacular and often light-hearted writing style that nevertheless succeeds in conveying ideas of considerable depth and subtlety."
- Stan van Hooft, Sophie, 48:327-329

Library Journal
Caputo (Radical Hermeneutics; philosophy, Villanova Univ.) claims that religion is not for the faint of heart. The radical instability of a life filled with faith and hope is transformational in the extreme, he cautions: "If safe is what you want, forget religion and find yourself a conservative investment counselor." Caputo writes with the immediacy and conviction of one who can fully understand his topic only by immersing himself in it. Intellectual without being overly academic, he considers ideas such as what it means to have a loving God, what is "religion without religion," and how the postmodern returns to religion by positing a "reality" beyond the real. When he writes that claims to religious truth are only interpretation at best and that humility should lead the way, one cheers his vigor and relishes his insights into the paradoxical, ambiguous nature of religion and religious belief. Recommended. Sandra Collins, Duquesne Univ. Lib., Pittsburgh Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415233323
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/23/2001
  • Series: Thinking in Action Series
  • Pages: 158
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Love of God 1
Religion is for Lovers 1
The Impossible 7
The Secret 17
What do I Love When I Love My God? 24
2 How the Secular World Became Post-Secular 37
The Sacral Age 38
Secularization 42
Our Prophets: Kierkegaard and Nietzsche 49
Desecularization: The Death of the Death of God 56
3 The Force Be With You 67
Cyber-Spirits 69
The Religion of Star Wars 78
4 Impossible People 91
The Apostle E. F. 94
Fundamentalism 101
5 On Religion - Without Religion 109
Religious Truth/True Religion 109
The Tragic Sense of Life 118
The Faith of a Post-Modern 125
Axioms of a Religion Without Religion 132
Adieu 141
Bibliographical Note and Acknowledgments 142
Index 143
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