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God at the Ritz: Attraction to Infinity Paperback – September 1, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Reading it is like having a stay up-all-night, jump-out-of-your-chair, have-another-double-espresso marathon conversation with one of the world’s most swashbuckling talkers."  —Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker

About the Author

Msgr. Lorenzo Albecete, Ph.D. a physicist by training, is a friend of Pope Paul II. He was president of the Pontifical Catholic University in Puerto Rico and professor of theology at Dunwoodie, the Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York. He has been featured in all major Hispanic media in the U.S., including Telemundo, and Naticias. He lives in Yonkers, New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824524721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824524722
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a whimsical and amusing little book on the rationality of believing in God but also how believing in God is a response to the longing of our hearts or, to be more precise, of our whole person. The fad at the minute is to regard all religious believers as dangerous loonies - Albacete's response is not to take a highly polemic stand against those railing at us who believe but to provide an insight into the joy of believing. Further, he shows, in his capacity as a physicist, that, for him, there is no contradiction in believing in the laws of physics and believing there is a God, who has revealed Himself. Both the believer and the scientist are seeking "knowledge and truth" except that the believer considers that human life cannot be explained in totally scientific materialist terms. Focusing exclusively on the latter leads to a "reduction in desire" and the "secularisation of interiority" - the longing of the heart is in effect denied. Critically, Albacete reminds us though that the order of discourse for science and philosophy/religion are different. Each follow its proper method. And, we must not suppress reason - to do so would be inhuman.

At times, particularly in his "Real Beer" chapter, I was reminder of Benedict XVI's Encyclical "Spe Salvi":

"The infinity our heart's desire is not endless time, a linear succession of moments that go on forever> No matter, how long we live, this desire remains> Ironically, perhaps the infinity the heart desires is within the limited within the particular within the concrete. It is a measure of quality not quantity.
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Format: Paperback
Albacete's vision of a 'rational faith' is one everyone on either side of the 'God Issue' should read. It is witty, down to earth, but well reasoned and persuasive.

It seems to me that what we have here is ultimately a powerful, persuasive, and well put together (sound?) version of the 'argument from desire'. Or in Albacete's case, the 'argument from desires'. Besides CS Lewis and the current pope, other intellectual influences range from Levinas and (I think) Miguel De Unamuno. I see a lot of Unamuno's outlook underlying much of what Albacete is talking about.

Albacete's overall point seems to me to be an issue that is widely accepted in many philosophical circles nowadays: that one cannot take a value-neutral stance on what rationality IS when the question of what constitutes rationality is the issue on the table. Any epistemological theory is going to be based on certain pre-existing beliefs, values, convictions and commitments. Hence Albacete's observation that science itself is based on 'desire'.

What the latin priest does is to take these ideas and make them accessible to anyone, leading up to the conclusion that, given science's reliance on commitments much like those that lead us to religion, religion is a justified (rationally speaking) enterprise.
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One of the best books a thinking person can read re: religion vs. science, suffering, and other topics, not lightweight fluff but not difficult to get, either.
All subjects handled with much humor and insight. Company delivered book in excellent condition in a timely manner.
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