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 books have charted new paths for religion. Part 4: James Carse.
is the author of a book called The Religious Case Against Belief
In it, he turns a lot of widely accepted ideas on their heads. Belief
usually defines religion, as any dictionary would show. Carse argues
that belief is often the enemy of religion. Beliefs, he says, come and
go, but religions persist. Some have a lot of beliefs, some almost
none, but even those with a lot preserve their identities even when
those beliefs change. James Carse is a scholar of the History and Literature of Religion which he taught for many years at New York
University. In this episode he shares his thoughts on the nature of
belief and the nature of religion.
The Religious Case Against Belief by James Carse is published by Penguin Press.
Listen to other episodes in the series: