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Writing God's Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist Paperback – February 4, 2014
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“Writing God’s Obituary is a story of liberation and redemption but not of the customary kind. Writing with eloquence and authenticity, Anthony Pinn shares his journey of deliverance from traditional religious practice. . . . His is a story that will appeal to anyone who has struggled with questions of faith or navigated the complexities of race.”
—William F. Schulz, former president of the Unitarian Universalist Association
“A powerful story of a spiritual journey from a boy evangelical preacher to a brilliant, intellectual humanist. This is a much-needed challenge to the faith of black Christians and others, especially theologians.”
—James H. Cone , Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary, and author of A Black Theology of Liberation
About the Author
Anthony B. Pinn (Houston, TX) is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, professor of religious studies, and founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning at Rice University. He is the first African American full professor to hold an endowed chair in the history of Rice University. He is also director of research for the Institute for Humanist Studies and is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Humanist Association. He is the author or editor of twenty-eight books, most recently Introducing African American Religion, (Routledge, 2012) and The End of God-Talk: An African American Humanist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2012).
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"God's Obituary" is a pretty straightforward autobiography of Pinn's journey from becoming a Methodist preacher at the age of 12, to denouncing his belief in God by the time he becomes a student at Harvard. He doesn't delve too deeply into other parts of his personal life, and parts of his story seem undeveloped. But he explains clearly why he came to the conclusion that religion simply does not address the realities of the modern world, and that there is no evidence of a god intervening to alleviate the suffering that many people experience.
In one part of the book he explains: "Theism produces sloppy ways of thinking because it doesn't necessarily respect reason, but instead favors fiction. At least this was my experience of it and as a minister I contributed to this problem. As an academic I'd make amends for this."
He includes a list of recommended books at the end of his memoir, but I wish he had delved more into how those writers and books influenced his journey to non-belief. I also wanted to read his views on other African-American intellectuals like Cornell West who still hold and espouse theistic beliefs.
Nevertheless, "God's Obituary" makes for a good contribution to the much-needed stories by all of us who have chosen to stop believing in religious folk tales, mythologies, and dogma.
If that is what he is trying to say he should state it plainly, but then history might crop up and smash his thesis.
This book is long on opinion and anecdote, but very short on first rate reasoning about why is an atheist. Unless you of course consider his obvious contempt for theism as "reasoning".
Not what I expected as all. The writing is even rambling and disorganized at times.