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The Age of Doubt: Tracing the Roots of Our Religious Uncertainty Hardcover – March 29, 2011
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"As Christopher Lane argue[s] in The Age of Doubt, the explosion of questioning among Christian thinkers in the Victorian era transformed the idea of doubt from a sin or lapse to necessary exploration"--Julia Baird, New York Times
Top Customer Reviews
The problem I had with this book is that Lane's portrait of the Victorian doubters never really became the indictment of today's scientistic church militant that Lane meant it to be. I heard him say it (and rightly so), but I never really saw it. The religious figures in Lane's Victorian narrative were always the "bad" guys with the exception of Newman, although he never actually makes a case for Newman's Catholicism as respectable. Indeed, the picture I saw displayed today's Bright British Atheism as a fairly natural consequence of yesterday's Hard-nosed British Agnosticism.
This brings me to the one very useful thing I learned from this book: Dawkins and his movement (including its American wanna-bes) is very British. His way of talking about God comes straight out of a Victorian script. His God is the God isolated by Victorians struggling to deal with geological time and evolution. The similarity of language is striking. At bottom, the God of Dawkins--like that of Lyell, Chambers, Darwin, Huxley and others--is the God who drew up a blueprint of the earth and its fixed species, assembled it the way your or I would assemble a garden, and frequently prunes and waters it for the pleasure of his darlings. This is all Victorian British stuff. It is as if the essence of religion were actually Bad Natural History with a dash of Kindly Uncle. Clinging too tightly to this one view of religion betrays, in my opinion, a lack of imagination, literacy, or experience.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good book about the history of religious doubt in England -- I found it engaging and enjoyed continuing with it. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mark Dorough
Taking readers from the freethinkers of eighteenth century Britain to the recent American play and movie Doubt, The Age of Doubt is a fast-paced, absorbing history of agnosticism. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Amy Mann