By Terry Eagleton
How you can reside in a supposedly faithless international threatened by means of spiritual fundamentalism? Terry Eagleton, bold philosopher and well known cultural critic, investigates during this thought-provoking e-book the contradictions, problems, and importance of the trendy look for a substitute for God. enticing with a phenomenally wide variety of rules, concerns, and thinkers from the Enlightenment to this day, Eagleton discusses the kingdom of faith sooner than and after September 11, the ironies surrounding Western capitalism’s half in spawning not just secularism but in addition fundamentalism, and the unsatisfactory surrogates for the Almighty invented within the post-Enlightenment era.
The writer displays at the specified capacities of faith, the chances of tradition and artwork as smooth paths to salvation, the so-called conflict on terror’s effect on atheism, and a number of alternative subject matters of outrage to those that envision a destiny during which simply and compassionate groups thrive. Lucid, fashionable, and unique in his ordinary demeanour, Eagleton offers a super survey of recent proposal that still serves as a well timed, urgently wanted intervention into our perilous political current.
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Extra resources for Culture and the Death of God
Reason extended too far can thus end up undoing itself. As with Pascal, a darkly unfathomable God is an ominous reminder of the limits of rationality. We are also reminded of those limits by the fact that when rationality becomes for the most part instrumental, a matter of calculation and cause and effect, it risks emptying social existence of meaning and value. As such, it can provide it with no plausible justification. indd 34 19/12/13 7:38 PM The Limits of Enlightenment members actually do but fails to validate it in any more edifying terms, and a form of belief, religious or otherwise, which might offer such legitimacy but which increasingly fails to reflect men and women’s actual behaviour.
As with many an Enlightenment sage, religion is judged primarily in terms of its utility. It is acceptable only if it promotes the kind of morality one would still endorse without it. This, for Hume, was ‘true’ religion, which could only ever be that of a cultivated minority, as opposed to what he derided as the sick dreams of the masses. When it came to social utility, Hume’s social conservatism trumped his intellectual scepticism. Indeed, he himself acted out a version of the double truth thesis in his everyday life, famously setting aside his subversive anti-foundationalism for the sake of social convention.
There were those, then, who thought it desirable to enlighten the masses as well. The problem with this, however, was that the common people were widely considered to be impervious to Reason. 48 According to this doctrine, the scepticism of the educated must learn not to unsettle the superstition of the populace. It must be sequestered from the common folk, for fear of the political unrest it might incite. There can be no common ground between the more rational and more barbarous species of religious faith.