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The Errors of Atheism Paperback – January 1, 2010
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"This book contains a sustained and systematic critique of many of the'new atheists,' such as Dawkins, as well as a critique of traditionalorthodox theology. Corlett develops an innovative hybrid of processtheology and liberation theology, and he argues that it is not rationalto reject this view out of hand. In this age of rabid fundamentalismand increasingly 'in-your-face' atheism, Corlett offers an alternativepicture with considerable appeal. It is a book of breathtakingintellectual scope, and it stakes out an important, but thus farunder-appreciated, religious orientation." — John Martin Fischer, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Riverside, USA.
"An important contribution to the current debate about God. Both theologians and philosophers should read this book." — James H. Cone, Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary, USA.
"This book is a provocative presentation of Corlett's own version of theism, and it also plausibly criticizes many stereotypes and exposes numerous errors. Corlett achieves extraordinary comprehensiveness in discussing a great deal of literature in philosophy of religion and theology, but the book should be accessible to general readers and of interest to many." —Robert Audi, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, USA, and editor of The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.
Mentioned in 'Published this Week' section in Times Higher Education, May 2010
"This book is a provocative presentation of Corlett’s own version of theism, and it also plausibly criticizes many stereotypes and exposes numerous errors. Corlett achieves extraordinary comprehensiveness in discussing a great deal of literature in philosophy of religion and theology, but the book should be accessible to general readers and of interest to many." —Robert Audi, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, USA, and editor of The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.
About the Author
J. Angelo Corlett is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at San Diego State University, USA, and Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Ethics: An International Philosophical Review. He is the author of Terrorism: A Philosophical Analysis (2003) and Race, Racism, and Reparation (2003).
Top customer reviews
The hybrid minimalist theist is a fascinating idea, but it seems that much more work needs to be done to give it any substantial credibility. Until then, Corlett has just created a new God that will be attacked by both Christians and atheists alike. EOA also suffers a little from self-aggrandizement, and the author's claim that "One benefit of my analysis of the existence of God is that, unlike most philosophical accounts, mine is better informed theologically. And unlike most theological accounts mine is well-informed philosophically and places no restrictions on the employment of reason in this context of discourse" must be judged by the reader. I voted with two stars; one for uniqueness and the other for audacity.
Most of this volume can be boiled down to my above summary; hence, most of this volume is annoyingly superfluous. Only in Chapters 5 and 6 do we get down to the nitty gritty of Corlett's theology.
The whole idea behind this volume seems silly to me. There will always be another theology which people will say is better than the last, but the point atheists are making is that there is no reason to believe any of them; we are "de facto atheists" because while there might be a god, there is no reason to believe there is one of any kind -- just as there is no reason to believe in fairies. Hypothetically, we could say that even though we've seemingly refuted supposed instances of extant fairies (e.g. the Cottingley fairies), perhaps there are real fairies out there. In fact, with an evolution which seems to be so guided towards purpose, perhaps animal development comes from the waving of the fairy's wand which causes the animal to develop in response to the conditions it faces (i.e. natural selection); I haven't studied fairyology, so I apparently have to remain agnostic on the matter, but Corlett can theorize as to the nature of these fairies. Or perhaps, instead of the tentative theology which Corlett comes up with which involves a good god who deserves our prayers, perhaps god is evil. Perhaps the entire universe which eventually ends in all life dying out is just the capricious plan of a malevolent deity. So these are possibilities, but there's no reason to believe either of them. If we are to remain agnostic about Corlett's god, then we must remain agnostic about evolution fairies and the evil god. Prima facie, I think we must realize that we simply have no reason to believe any of these theologies and count ourselves as "de facto atheists" with regards to all of them.
Within Corlett's theology, he offers an intriguing an intriguing ethical vision. I found his discussion of how reparations are necessary for repentance to be quite thoughtful; I also was personally moved (for personal reasons) by his discussion of how societal integration is not necessarily always a good thing, but sometimes a society should have the option to remain outside of those who oppressed it in the past. For these reasons, I give the book two stars instead of one.
(I must succumb to the temptation to note that Corlett is playing hide-the-ball with Russell's worldview. Corlett quotes the following line of an essay by Russell: "As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God." That sure does sound consistent with Corlett's idea that agnosticism is the proper position and atheism is intellectually unjustified, but he conveniently forgets Russell's next line: "On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods." Dawkins' position of de facto atheism is the same as Russell's position construed here. There is no reason to come up with a new theology; there is, quite simply, no god.)