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The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness,…
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The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss

by David Bentley Hart

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Orthodox theologian and philosopher David Bentley Hart describes the rational for theistic belief. This a romp through metaphysics and ontology, the philosophy and science of consciousness and the human pursuit of happiness (bliss). While this isn't purely 'apologetic' work, it is written against the dominant narrative of scientific materialism (or 'physicalism'). Bentley also eschews the reductionist tendencies of some in the inteligent design camp. This is written broadly theistic, so to include other faith traditions, and Hart borrows terms and ideas from Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.

Hart argues well and I think he disposes some of the shallow arguments from the so-called New Athiests as overly simplistic. He also demonstrates there is good thinking done by theists, and there are resources at our disposal. However, there does seem to be a bit of an uppity tone to the book. Hart is used to being the smartest guy in the room, so perhaps it can't be helped, but I understand why some may be put off by it. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Insufferable-- mostly due to the author's smug stiltedness. ( )
1 vote KatrinkaV | Sep 25, 2013 |
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Hart’s book, then, is a sophisticated version of old God-of-the-Gaps arguments, and it’s gained traction because of two things: Hart’s exceedingly rarified notion of God (one shared by almost no believers but admired because it can’t be refuted); and his well-written—and sometimes pedantic—reiteration of shopworn arguments about phenomena that supposedly elude science, and can hence be peddled to a new generation of believers as signs of God. Further, Hart doesn’t argue for the existence of his own God (he’s an Eastern Orthodox Christian), so we are stymied in understanding why he holds the faith he does. He’s also cagey when dealing with his personal beliefs: When it comes time to tell us what he thinks about miracles, for example, he simply “draws the veil of authorial discretion” in front of his thoughts.
 
Hart is a phenomenally gifted thinker who recalls believers of all faiths to the best of their traditions, challenges unbelievers to examine their own metaphysical presuppositions, and does these with tremendous gusto. He has written a necessary book in a bad time.
 
One would be hard put to find a more thorough and a more devastating refutation of naturalism — the philosophical doctrine that says that nature is a closed system, that every event in nature is caused by nature — than here.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300166842, Hardcover)

Despite the recent ferocious public debate about belief, the concept most central to the discussion—God—frequently remains vaguely and obscurely described. Are those engaged in these arguments even talking about the same thing? In a wide-ranging response to this confusion, esteemed scholar David Bentley Hart pursues a clarification of how the word “God” functions in the world’s great theistic faiths.

Ranging broadly across Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Vedantic and Bhaktic Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, Hart explores how these great intellectual traditions treat humanity’s knowledge of the divine mysteries. Constructing his argument around three principal metaphysical “moments”—being, consciousness, and bliss—the author demonstrates an essential continuity between our fundamental experience of reality and the ultimate reality to which that experience inevitably points.

Thoroughly dismissing such blatant misconceptions as the deists' concept of God, as well as the fundamentalist view of the Bible as an objective historical record, Hart provides a welcome antidote to simplistic manifestoes. In doing so, he plumbs the depths of humanity’s experience of the world as powerful evidence for the reality of God and captures the beauty and poetry of traditional reflection upon the divine.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:19 -0400)

Despite the recent ferocious public debate about belief, the concept most central to the discussion "God" frequently remains vaguely and obscurely described. Are those engaged in these arguments even talking about the same thing? In a wide-ranging response to this confusion, esteemed scholar David Bentley Hart pursues a clarification of how the word "God" functions in the world's great theistic faiths. Ranging broadly across Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Vedantic and Bhaktic Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, Hart explores how these great intellectual traditions treat humanity's knowledge of the divine mysteries. Constructing his argument around three principal metaphysical "moments"--Being, consciousness, and bliss- the author demonstrates an essential continuity between our fundamental experience of reality and the ultimate reality to which that experience inevitably points.… (more)

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