Saving God: Religion after Idolatry

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9780691143941: Saving God: Religion after Idolatry
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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.

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From the Inside Flap:


"This book is a brilliantly conceived contribution to natural theology. Taken together with Johnston's forthcomingSurviving Death, it constitutes the most interesting and provocative elaboration of religious naturalism since Santayana."--Jeffrey Stout, author ofDemocracy and Tradition and Ethics after Babel


"This is a remarkable, fascinating, and important book, one that exhibits rich philosophical erudition--which it wears lightly--and startling philosophical insight. It is, at its core, a work of natural theology, a distinctly philosophical endeavor, but the book neatly sidesteps all the dead ends that such a project has created for itself in the last couple of centuries."--James C. Edwards, author ofThe Plain Sense of Things: The Fate of Religion in an Age of Normal Nihilism


"This is one of those rare works in philosophical theology that presents a complex, novel view in a manner accessible to the general reader. This is an exciting book."--Andrew Chignell, Cornell University


About the Author:

Mark Johnston is the Walter Cerf Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University and the author of Surviving Death (Princeton).

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9780691152615: Saving God: Religion after Idolatry

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ISBN 10:  0691152616 ISBN 13:  9780691152615
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2011
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