Ê Read ò The Religious Case Against Belief by James P. Carse ☆ Very interesting, and very challenging to read I especially have enjoyed mulling over the concepts of 3 forms of ignorance 1 Ordinary you just don t know something someones phone number for example 2 Willful an assuming of ignorance when there is no ignorance Creationists who refuse to believe carbon dating or fossil evidence of human existence before the time of the Bible, or a fighter pilot who refuses to acknowledge that his bombs are killing people AN IGNORANCE MOST DANGEROUS 3 Higher Knowing that there is always to know, to learn that manifested by many inspirational leaders Budda for example, or Galileo Galilei And then there is an extended discussion most of the book actually around the concept of Belief Systems comprehensive networks of tenets that reach into ever In this book, Carse resolves the apparent oxymoron of the title by distinguishing between religion and belief Religion is about asking such cosmic questions as Why are we here How do we know Belief is all about having answers Religion, the ineffable, meditation, and transcendence go together Belief is deeply suspicious of meditation and doesn t want anything to do with mystery Religion is all about what s beyond the horizon Belief has boundaries and is hostile to anything that threatens them Wish I could find my notes from the book I had a great summary that I wanted to share, but the above paragraph, though inadequate, will give you some idea of the book Learned ignorance the good kind of ignorance, ignorance that knows it doesn t know and can hang out with not knowi
I have a soft spot for James Carse I discovered his The Silence of God on my own, and then a friend told me how much she enjoyed his Finite and Infinite Games, which I read next Later, I enjoyed his Breakfast at the Victory So when I saw this book in the bookstore, I snapped it up And I did enjoy it, almost to the end I do recommend it, but would understand if someone quit reading it about halfway through.
The first chapter 100 pages long, about half the book is an engaging and thought provoking treatment of belief and how a system of belief is a different thing from religion The Table of Contents seems to promise that the subsequent chapters will add to or build upon the initial exposition Chapter One Belief Chapter Two Religion Chapter Three Religion Beyond Belief The second chapter sustains a good beginning for about twenty pages, and then bogs down in the mat One of the most interesting books I have read on religious belief, at least since Gauchet s work It is, rightly an aesthetic view religion as poetry NOT as truth or falsehood.
No professional jargon here In clear, precise, brillant yet scholarly prose, this author makes us aware that most of us are under the enthrallment of belief systems of one kind or another, whether or not we are part of any organized religion and further, he even recommends not less real religion, because real religion makes no ultimate truth claims to divide folks rather it lays bare the mystery in which we all live , and allows us to reopen the search for truth Most of us are willfully ignorant because we avoid knowledge that might undermine the authority of our chosen belief systems Now after all, is there not good precedent for this tradition Socrates, for instance, went about trying to get his listeners to make the confession of igno You start reading this existential crap and you ll be as crazy as me, I warn you That said, I can recommend skipping this one for the additional reason that it, in my opinion, sucks Contemporary bestsellers which are fashionable these days sell books by bashing traditional religions and point out their obvious incongruities and misuses Dawkins, Harris, et al Other authors, failing to have jumped in time on that specific bandwagon, publish a text that can be seen thus purchased as expanding on or arguing for or against the validity of these bestsellers Most strong atheist writers put out a polemic text for the layperson, but Carse is a professor of religion, and thus, produces an academic treatise which is dry, dull, and difficult And to top it off, I would include pointless, since his argument as best I could discern it
A Provocative, Insightful Explanation For Why It Is That Belief Not Religion Keeps Us In A Perilous State Of Willful IgnoranceIn The Religious Case Against Belief, James Carse Identifies The Twenty First Century S Most Forbidding Villain Belief In Distinguishing Religions From Belief Systems, Carse Works To Reveal How Belief With Its Restriction On Thought And Encouragement Of Hostility Has Corrupted Religion And Spawned Violence The World Over Galileo, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, And Jesus Christ Using Their Stories Carse Creates His Own Brand Of Parable And Establishes A New Vocabulary With Which To Study Conflict In The Modern World The Religious Case Against Belief Introduces Three Kinds Of Ignorance Ordinary Ignorance A Mundane Lack Of Knowledge, Such As Ignorance Of Tomorrow S Weather Or The Reason Why Your Stove Is Malfunctioning , Willful Ignorance An Intentional Avoidance Of Accessible Knowledge , And Finally Higher Ignorance A Learned Understanding That No Matter How Many Truths We May Accumulate, Our Knowledge Falls Infinitely Short Of The Truth While Ordinary Ignorance Is Common To All People, Carse Associates The Strongest Manifestation Of Willful Ignorance With The Most Fervent And Dangerous Of Believers He Points To The Historic Conflict Between Martin Luther And Holy Roman Emperor Charles V Both To Reveal This Seemingly Religious Collision As A Clash Of Belief And To Identify Belief S Inherently Destructive Characteristics From Luther To The Contemporary Christian Right, We Learn That Believers Construct Identity By Erecting Boundaries And By Fostering Aggression Between The Believer And The Other This Is Why Belief Systems Choose At Great Cost To Remain Locked In Bloody Conflict Rather Than To Engage In Dialogue, Recognizing The Great Deal They Have In Common This Is Willful Ignorance In Fierce Contrast To Willful Ignorance, Higher Ignorance Is An Acquired State Enhanced By Religion Those Traveling The Path To Higher Ignorance Recognize Faith Teachings Such As The Bible As Poetry Intended To Promote Contemplation, Interpretation, And A Sense Of Wonder For Evidence Of Religion S Deeply Embedded Rejection Of Singular Truth And Its Acceptance Of Diverse Dialogue, Carse Looks To The Many Faces Of Jesus Presented In The books Of The Bible And Elsewhere Uncontaminated By Belief Systems, Religion Rejects The Imagined Boundaries That Falsely Divide People And Ideas, Working To Expand Horizons The Religious Case Against Belief Exposes A World In Which Religion And Belief Have Become Erroneously And Terrifyingly Conflated In Strengthening Their Association With Powerful Belief Systems, Religions Have Departed From Their Essential Purpose As Agencies Of Higher Ignorance Carse Uses His Wideranging Understanding Of Religion To Find A Viable And Vital Path Away From What He Calls The Age Of Faith II And Toward Open Ended Global Dialogue Far From Abstract Philosophical Musing, The Religious Case Against Belief Is Required Reading For Our Age Really interesting and challenging I need to read this at least a second time to fully digest the author s argument, but the first reading helped me to integrate my spiritual experiences and commitments with my commitment to reason and empiricism just a little further I was especially impressed with his discussions of evil and of death.