Monday, April 30, 2012 | Categories: Episodes |
Public discussion of religion tends to polarize between two extremes:
religious fundamentalism, and the aggressive atheism of such writers as
Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. But much of what people
actually believe falls somewhere in between. It is subtler and more
tentative. David Cayley explores the work of five thinkers whose recent books have charted new paths for religion.
Part 1: Richard Kearney.
Religion, in recent years, has been something of a battlefield. On the one hand books with titles like God is Back or, more alarming, The Revenge of God have dramatized the increased influence of fundamentalist forms of religion. On the other, the writers sometimes called the new atheists have railed against religion in a spirit that some have called secular fundamentalism. British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins leads the way here with his claim that religion is a brain disease, but others like the late Christopher Hitchins have also contributed to this revival of the old opposition between religion and enlightenment.
Richard Kearney would like to get past all this. To him it's a sterile polarization. He'd like to move on to a conversation in which doubt and faith, in his words, "criss-cross." Richard Kearney is a poet, a novelist, and a philosopher who writes about the role of imagination in religious belief. He's professor of philosophy at Boston College, and a visiting professor at University College Dublin in his native Ireland.
Anatheism: Returning to God After God by Richard Kearney is published by Columbia University Press.