Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Review of IS GOD A DELUSION?

The Lutheran Quarterly, a theological journal specializing in Lutheran theology, just published a very nice review of my book. Unfortunately, it isn't available online and I'm not exactly keen to type it in verbatim (and wonder about the copyright issues of doing so in any event). So I will content myself with some highlights:

"This carefully written and highly readable book by philosopher Eric Reitan engages the current heirs of David Hume and Bertrand Russell...Reitan does so from the perspective of liberal Protestantism, especially as mediated through the lens of the theologian of religious experience, Schleiermacher....

"While the 'new atheists' are his direct target, Reitan's indirect target would be fundamentalists. In a sense, Reitan, with many other apologists, particularly within the Liberal Protestant tradition, see (sic) the fight between atheists and fundamentalists as a whirlpool in which we need not drown....

"On a final note, a major reason that Reitan sees Christianity as plausible is because its primary narrative of a creating, sustaining, and redeeming God is 'beautiful' (185). This book is to be appreciated for its readability, a trait not readily found in many philosophers. Whether or not you like this book will depend on what you think about the liberal Protestant tradition."

The review also devotes a fair bit of attention to my use of Luther's conception of faith at a critical juncture of the book's argument (not suprising given the journal's focus); and--interestingly--the reviewer spends even more time on what he describes as "(o)ne of Reitan's most interesting arguments":  my sustained use of the "brain in a vat" analogy (although I'm not entirely convinced that the reviewer's summary of that argument adequately captures the main thrust of what I was trying to do).

Overall, a good review--and the last sentence pretty well captures my experience of how the book has been received. While I wouldn't say that only liberal Protestants like the book, I would say that those with an affinity for some of the core themes in that tradition tend to be its biggest fans.


  1. Congrats, man! I really need to pick up a copy. Do you have an ebook version?

  2. Mike: Amazon sells a kindle version (and they just lowered the price). Google books has created a searchable electronic version, but you can't read the whole book that way. Don't know about any other available electronic formats.