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Saving God: Religion after Idolatry
     

Saving God: Religion after Idolatry

by Mark Johnston
 

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ISBN-10: 0691152616

ISBN-13: 9780691152615

Pub. Date: 07/31/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In this book, Mark Johnston argues that God needs to be saved not only from the distortions of the "undergraduate atheists" (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris) but, more importantly, from the idolatrous tendencies of religion itself. Each monotheistic religion has its characteristic ways of domesticating True Divinity, of taming God's demands so

Overview

In this book, Mark Johnston argues that God needs to be saved not only from the distortions of the "undergraduate atheists" (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris) but, more importantly, from the idolatrous tendencies of religion itself. Each monotheistic religion has its characteristic ways of domesticating True Divinity, of taming God's demands so that they do not radically threaten our self-love and false righteousness. Turning the monotheistic critique of idolatry on the monotheisms themselves, Johnston shows that much in these traditions must be condemned as false and spiritually debilitating.

A central claim of the book is that supernaturalism is idolatry. If this is right, everything changes; we cannot place our salvation in jeopardy by tying it essentially to the supernatural cosmologies of the ancient Near East. Remarkably, Johnston rehabilitates the ideas of the Fall and of salvation within a naturalistic framework; he then presents a conception of God that both resists idolatry and is wholly consistent with the deliverances of the natural sciences.

Princeton University Press is publishing Saving God in conjunction with Johnston's forthcoming book Surviving Death, which takes up the crux of supernaturalist belief, namely, the belief in life after death.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691152615
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/31/2011
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
879,575
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

PREFACE xi

Chapter 1: Is Your God Really God? 1
BELIEVING IN GOD—ON THE "NAMES" OF GOD—THE MEANING OF "GOD" AND THE COMMON CONCEPTION OF GOD—WHAT IS SALVATION?—SALVATION VERSUS SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM

Chapter 2: The Idolatrous Religions 18
THE BAN ON IDOLATRY—IDOLATRY AS PERVERSE
WORSHIP—GRAVEN IMAGES AND THE HIGHEST ONE—IDOLATRY AS SERVILITY—THE RHETORIC OF IDOLATROUSNESS—THE SAME GOD?—THE PHARISEES' PROBLEM WITH JESUS—COULD WE BE IDOLATERS?

Chapter 3: Supernaturalism and Scientism 37
SCIENTISM AND SUPERSTITION—SUPERNATURALISM—LEGITIMATE NATURALISM—SCIENTISM VERSUS SCIENCE—THE ARGUMENT FOR NATURALISM FROM TRUE RELIGION

Chapter 4: The Phenomenological Approach 53
THE METHOD AND THE QUESTION—YAHWEH'S USE OF THE METHOD—A CRITERION, OR AN ENCLOSED CIRCLE?—YAHWEH'S CRITERION APPLIED TO HIMSELF—FORGIVINGTHE GOD—A REPLY TO YAHWEH'S ANSWER TO JOB

Chapter 5: Is There an Internal Criterion of Religious Falsehood? 70
THE POPE'S CRITERION OF RELIGIOUS FALSEHOOD—A CONSEQUENCE OF THE POPE'S CRITERION—RELIGIOUS AND SCIENTIFIC FALLIBILISM

Chapter 6: Why God? 80
DOESN'T SUBSTANTIVE REASONABLENESS SUFFICE?—THE FALL—HOMO INCURVATUS IN SE—THE REDEEMER?

Chapter 7: After Monotheism 95
THE HIGHEST ONE—THE TETRAGRAMMATON—THE PARADOX OF THE HIGHEST ONE—SPEAKING OF THE HIGHEST ONE—EXISTENTS AS DEPENDENT ASPECTS OF EXISTENCE ITSELF—AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE THOMISTIC
INTERPRETATION OF THE HIGHEST ONE

Chapter 8: Process Panentheism 115
THE GOODNESS OF THE HIGHEST ONE—THE ANALOGY OF LOGOS—PROCESS PANENTHEISM—THE SELF-DISCLOSURE OF EXISTENCE ITSELF—THE PROBLEM IS WITH THE PANTHEON

Chapter 9: Panentheism, Not Pantheism 126
DISTINGUISHING PANENTHEISM AND PANTHEISM—PRESENCE—PRESENCE AS DISCLOSURE—IS BEING ALMOST ENTIRELY WASTED?—UBIQUITOUS PRESENCE—AGAINST NATURAL REPRESENTATION—REPRESENTATION AND "CARRYING INFORMATION"—CAN CAUSATION ACCOUNT FOR ABOUTNESS?—WHAT COULD REPLACE THE REPRESENTATIONALIST TRADITION?—A DIAGNOSIS OF THE REPRESENTATIONALIST'S MISTAKE—A TRANSFORMED PICTURE OF "CONSCIOUSNESS" AND REALITY—CONFIRMING THE SURPRISING HYPOTHESIS

Chapter 10: The Mind of God 152
THE OBJECTIVITY OF THE REALM OF SENSE—HOW THE STRUCTURE OF PRESENCE MIGHT IMPOSE EVOLUTIONARY CONSTRAINTS—OBJECTIVE MIND AND THE MIND OF THE HIGHEST ONE—THE DOUBLY DONATORY CHARACTER OF REALITY—DOES GOD EXIST?—THE HIGHEST ONE

Chapter 11: Christianity without Spiritual Materialism 160
RELIGION AND VIOLENCE—THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GIRARD—WHERE IS ORIGINAL SINFULNESS?—ORIGINAL SINFULNESS AS SELF-WILL AND FALSE RIGHTEOUSNESS—CHRIST DESTROYS THE KINGDOM OF SELF-WILL AND FALSE RIGHTEOUSNESS—THE AFTERLIFE AS AN IDOLATROUS CONCEIT—AGAINST "MAN'S QUEST FOR MEANING"—THE AFTERLIFE AS RESISTANCE TO
CHRIST—NATURALISM'S GIFT: RESURRECTION WITHOUT THE AFTERLIFE

POSTSCRIPT 187
INDEX 189

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