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God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age Hardcover – May 28, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230342256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230342255
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Guengerich articulates an approach to religion that embraces community in its widest, most inclusive sense and does not dig in its heels when religious texts come in conflict with science. A rare and civilized antidote...” --Matthew Chapman, Writer/director of “The Ledge,” author of “40 Days And 40 Nights,” co-founder of ScienceDebate, and great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin


“…intellectually rich… lucid, compelling, and accessible…” --Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York, Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and Author of the 3-volume series The Making of American Liberal Theology


 “…brilliant synopsis of a big idea from revelation to relativity…  In this provocative read, the deity survives the Enlightenment intact enough to remain persuasive in a secular age. God Revised offers God an excellent chance to remain viable.” --David Levering Lewis, Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of W.E.B. DuBois, and Author of God's Crucible: Islam and the making of Europe, 570-1215


“In God Revised, Galen Guengerich ambitiously, modestly, provocatively and lyrically calls for nothing less than the transformation of religion. Part irresistible memoir, part erudite theological exegesis, part dazzling cultural history, this unique work makes the idea of finding "a god we can believe in" feel necessary, relevant--and most of all, thrilling. God Revised is an adventure that will enrich you, and stay with you.” --Wednesday Martin, Columnist for Psychology Today and author of Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do


“Guengerich speaks for those of us who reject both the unbelief of atheism and the hyper-belief of traditional religion.  He eloquently argues that “the reason religion is necessary, after all, isn’t so we can find salvation for the next life, but rather so we can find meaning and purpose in this one.” With wit, wisdom and compassion, Guengerich will convince you that this is how to live a godly life in the 21st century." --Elisabeth Robinson, Author, The True & Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters


“If you’ve ever thought of yourself as spiritual but not religious, as so many have, this is the book for you. Galen Guengerich masterfully illuminates what it means to be both, taking on rabid skeptics as readily as entrenched believers. The result is a book that both re-casts the concept of God and restores our faith in the human.”  --William F. Schulz, Former Executive Director, Amnesty International USA


“Galen Guengerich has written a book so comprehensive, personal, inquisitive, rational, and emotional that no reader can walk away from it without having to rethink faith, deepen spirituality, affirm science, and live as a better citizen of the world.” --C. Welton Gaddy, President, Interfaith Alliance


“Guengerich…offers a discursive meditation on how religion can fit into a scientific worldview. He rejects a supernatural, all-knowing God, yet still finds the need for a faith that gives life meaning.” --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich serves as the senior minister of All Souls in New York City, one of the largest and most prominent Unitarian Universalist congregations in the nation. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary, and earned a PhD in theology at the University of Chicago. His sermon "The Shaking of the Foundations" appeared in Representative American Speeches 2001-2002 as one of seven responses to September 11, alongside former President George Bush and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

More About the Author

Galen Guengerich is Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, an historic congregation located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He is the tenth person to hold this position in the congregation's 192-year history. He was educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA, Phi Beta Kappa, 1982), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1985) and The University of Chicago (PhD, 2004).

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the Board of Directors of Interfaith Alliance, the national non-partisan advocacy voice for faith and freedom; he served as chair of the Interfaith Alliance board from 2008-2012. In the past, Rev. Guengerich has served as Visiting Scholar at Union Theological Seminary in New York City; and on the boards of Dads and Daughters, the national advocacy nonprofit for fathers and daughters, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a human rights organization.

His sermon at All Souls on Sept. 16, 2001--the Sunday after 9/11--was selected for inclusion in Representative American Speeches 2001-2002. Titled "The Shaking of the Foundations," the sermon appears along with speeches by Governor George Pataki, President George Bush and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as one of seven "Responses to September 11th.".

Customer Reviews

I would class this as one of the best contemporary works on theology from a liberal religious perspective.
Timothy J. Bartik
I have to say that it is rare when I read a book twice and am still not really sure what the author was trying to say.
Frederick S. Goethel
It's definitely not God-is-dead; he doesn't have much use for the atheism of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.
Robert D. Harmon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom VINE VOICE on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let me open by saying that I am not a Christian (I'm Jewish) and I do recognize that this is a book written by a man from a Christian background primarily addressing Christian issues. Nevertheless, since he attempts to be be univeralist and inclusive, with multiple references to "Judaism, Christianity and Islam" all in one breath, I feel justified in responding as a Jew. And my first response to Reverend Guengerich is this: You can't just lump these three religions together. It might seem politically correct to do so for "inclusiveness," but it often leads to inaccuracies about the individual "Western religions" (as he calls them) because they are NOT all the same!

My second point is that this author apparently falls into the all-too-common trap of assuming that the "Old Testament" is the only text that Jews revere (wrong) and that, like the fundamentalist Christians, we take everything in the Bible absolutely literally (wrong again.) Judaism did not ossify after the death of Jesus. The next 2000 years are filled with evolving Jewish thinkers -- none of whom appears in the text or the bibliography of this book. Which frankly leads me to see the author's references to Judaism as little more than tokenism. That makes it kind of hard for me to take his critique of "Western religions" as applying to me personally.

Already in the 12th century, Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher who is as central to our theology as Augustine is to Christianity, wrote in his Guide for the Perplexed that we are not required to take the creation story of Genesis literally. Neither are Jews today required to believe that way -- some do, some don't.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jesse D. Walker on June 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Guengerich isn't your typical minister. He doesn't believe in God, or scriptures, or revelation, prophets, etc. He's rejected all of those things, thanks to his experience with science and life as he knows it. He prefers instead the philosophies and practices he feels will bring about the improvement of humanity, both for individuals and for us as a whole. He preaches religion to those that don't really want one, but still want to be good (and spiritual!) people. His theology felt at times strongly reminiscent of the 'law of attraction' as taught in The Secret, the best-selling book (and dvd) of a few years back that wants to connect you with the universe in some unspecified mystical way.

Don't get me wrong. I think his approach is an excellent one for those who don't believe in a supreme being. He's managed to collect a diverse number of theological and philosophical viewpoints in this book, which presents a somewhat compelling case for holding on to "religion" in the social and spiritual form present within Unitarian Universalism and other similar churches. As a liberal progressive, I tend to love the way Unitarian Universalists approach life and the issues I care about. They seem to "get it right" on most of the issues that matter to me (religion itself being an exception). Many churches (Christian and otherwise) are too right-leaning on a few too many issues, and in many cases, Guengerich's criticism is justified: the churches teach doctrines that are a bit too "out there" to believe. But not all of them, and even a rational scientist like myself can find a way to reconcile my spiritual/religious and scientific worldviews into one cohesive whole, even if Guengerich can't.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Yours Truly VINE VOICE on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Reared in a staunch Mennonite family, Galen Guengerich crossed to the almost diametrically opposed theological position of Unitarian Universalism. This book tells you why and how he made that journey. His message is that you need religion even if you don't believe in a personal or supernatural God. The God Guengerich believes in won't, as he puts it, move the Hummer from Parking Lot C in defiance of natural law, but rather is "an experience that intimately and extensively connects me to all that is present, as well as all that is past and all that is possible."

He also explains why he thinks you should join a religious community that does not require you to check your intelligence and reason at the door, whether Unitarian Universalist like his congregation, or some other one.

Guengerich sees humans as both witness to God's manifestation and agents carrying forth God's work. Rituals of worship bind us, and religion unites our common purpose in community. He then moves to what he considers the most challenging ethical issues facing Earth's inhabitants, beginning with "male-pattern behavior," which too often leads to conflict rather than justice and harmony.

Thankfully, this is not one of those religious books with a lot of sports metaphors or New Age aphorisms. It's far more substantive. In just over 200 pages, Guengerich surveys the three religions of the book from ancient Judaism to Augustine to Karen Armstrong with a lot of Alfred North Whitehead in between. He's also interested in literature (especially poetry), science, philosophy, classical and contemporary music and pop culture.

God Revised is an important and ambitious attempt to create a theological framework for a tradition that too often has been defined by what it rejects . And is clearly an appeal to those who think of themselves as "spiritual but not religious."
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