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Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God

Meaning and Mystery: What It Means To Believe in God

David M. Holley

ISBN: 978-1-444-31562-2

Nov 2009, Wiley-Blackwell

256 pages

$33.99

Description

Meaning and Mystery offers a challenge to the way Philosophy has traditionally approached the issue of belief in God as a theoretical problem, proposing instead a form of reflection more appropriate to the practical nature of the issue.
  • Makes use of abundant illustrative material, from both literature, such as Les Misérables, Edwin Abott’s Flatland, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Leo Tolstoy’s A Confession, and popular culture, such as advertisements, the television series Joan of Arcadia and the film Stranger Than Fiction
  • Uses imaginative scenarios to offer explanations of central concepts
  • Incorporates theories on human thought and behavior in exploring the formation of religious belief
  • Written in a style that is accessible to readers with little background knowledge of philosophy
Preface.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction: Does Anyone Actually Believe in God?

1 Life-Orienting Stories.

2 God of the Philosophers.

3 Reasons for Believing in God.

4 Resistance and Receptivity.

5 Belief As a Practical Issue.

6 Anthropomorphism and Mystery.

7 Naturalistic Stories.

8 Theistic and Naturalistic Morality.

9 Meaning and the Limits of Meaning.

10 Conviction, Doubt, and Humility.

Suggestions for Further Reading.

Index.

"With these minor criticisms in mind, Holley's work should be commended for its unique and provocative approach of defending religious belief in the age of modernity which, at the same time, defends naturalism and atheism. He has revealed to us that one need not be legitimized at the expense of the other." (International Journal For Philosophy of Religion, 8 January 2011)

"Holley makes strong but subtle arguments for a transcendent agent conception of God, and the need for this image for a coherent morality, the value of revelation-bearing traditions, and the priority of practice for discovering belief." (CHOICE, September 2010)"The question of the existence of God has been part of the philosophical debate ...with arguments advanced for and against it. In this heartfelt ... argument for God’s existence, the author studies the subject from every perspective. Echoes of ancient thinkers as well as more contemporary observers of the religious scene are well represented herein. Holley is clearly well versed in the arguments on both sides of the question. And he shows some insight into those who find belief in God to be a thing devoutly to be avoided even while espousing belief as part of his own life. In the end, Holley chooses faith over doubt and offers guidelines for those seeking an experience with the divine. His observations are well worth reading." (Publishers Weekly, January 2010)

  • Challenges the standard approach of reflecting upon the question of God as a theoretical problem
  • Makes abundant use of illustrative material, including examples drawn from advertisements, television shows such as Joan of Arcadia, from films such as Stranger Than Fiction, as well as from literature such as Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Flatland, and Leo Tolstoy’s A Confession
  • Uses imaginative scenarios to offer explanations of central concepts
  • Incorporates theories of human thought and behavior in its exploration of the formation of religious belief
  • Written in a style that is accessible to readers with little background knowledge of philosophy