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Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate (Terry Lectures) (The Terry Lectures) [Hardcover]

Terry Eagleton
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 April 2009 The Terry Lectures
Terry Eagleton's witty and polemical 'Reason, Faith, and Revolution' is bound to cause a stir among scientists, theologians, people of faith and people of no faith, as well as general readers eager to understand the God Debate. On the one hand, Eagleton demolishes what he calls the 'superstitious' view of God held by most atheists and agnostics, and offers in its place a revolutionary account of the Christian Gospel. On the other hand, he launches a stinging assault on the betrayal of this revolution by institutional Christianity. There is little joy here, then, either for the anti-God brigade - Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in particular - nor for many conventional believers. Instead, Eagleton offers his own vibrant account of religion and politics in a book that ranges from the Holy Spirit to the recent history of the Middle East, from Thomas Aquinas to the Twin Towers.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st Edition edition (21 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300151799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300151794
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 468,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Acclaimed literary scholar and cultural theorist Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of English Literature at Notre Dame.

Terry Eagleton is the author of many books including The Idea of Culture (2000), Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002), the bestselling text Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983, 1996, 2008), Trouble with Strangers: A Study of Ethics (2009), and the forthcoming On Evil (2010).

Product Description


"... a rich, subtle and humane series of essays that deserves close study ... Eagleton has immeasurably raised the standards."
-- John Cornwell, Literary Review, 1st May 2009

"...essentially a contra-Dawkins and contra-Hitchens polemic: he conflates the two angry atheists as "Ditchkins" and successfully shreds what they say."
-- Piers Paul Read, Observer, 24th May 2009

"...has an acute ear for the bland complacency and hubristic self-confidence of many contemporary secularists...much to admire here." -- John Cottingham, The Tablet, 30th May 2009

"...interesting things to say about the notion of rationality...the mixed legacy of the Enlightenment, and present-day attitudes towards Islam." -- Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald, 12th June 2009

"...offer(s) an account of Jesus and his teachings which is as good as any outside the ranks of biblical specialists." -- John Saxbee, Church Times, 19th June 2009

"...the inner intellectual and spiritual journey it prompts is arduous and daunting." -- Ruth Gledhill, The Times, 16th May 2009

"His gloriously rude dismissal of postmodernism and...sardonic jabs against the evangelical preachers...are worth the entry price alone." -- George Eaton, Economist, 8th June 2009

"This is sure to ruffle feathers on both sides of the God debate ... Many will, simply, have to read this." -- Bookseller, 23rd January 2009

"effortlessly, and ruthlessly...tears apart Dawkins and Hitchens ... carv[ing] up the militant atheists using their own weapons of reason." -- Jonathan Bartley, Guardian, 4th July 2009

...a radical contribution to what is becoming one of the important issues of our age." -- Good Book Guide, July 2009


"This is sure to ruffle feathers on both sides of the God debate ... Many will, simply, have to read this."

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faith seeking understanding 25 Jan 2010
Terry Eagleton has grown in stature over the years. From the late 1960s as the editor of Slant, a left-wing Catholic magazine brought out in the heady days after Vatican II, he became a renowned literary theorist, Oxford Professor of English and expert on Marxism. He has written over forty books and always writes wisely and well. On his life's work, he comments wryly that `one of the best reasons for being a Christian, as well as a Socialist, is that you don't like having to work, and reject the fearful idolatry of it so rife in countries like the United States. True civilisations do not hold predawn power breakfasts.'

His latest book is an edited version of the Terry Lectures, given at Yale University on the subject of the links and disjunctions between science and religion. He professes to know only a little about each, but takes as his adversaries the so-called `New Atheists', principally Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (whom he irreverently joins together as `Ditchkins') and their disdainful dismissal of religion as the roots of all human evil, or most of it.

Writing for the defence, Terry returns surprisingly to his Catholic roots. His argument is that salvation is a political affair and all about the anawim (the poor and needy in Hebrew). He concedes that left-wing, radical Christians are a rarity, but that Christian faith is principally a matter of helping people, visiting the sick and the lonely and speaking up for them. It is a view that would be dismissed by most metaphysical, realist churchmen. After all, social workers can do all that.

Yet here is the point. Faith is not an intellectual assent to propositions; it is always faith-as-trust. As Kierkegaard would say, the facts do not really matter, nor even does universal truth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Superb appraisal and criticism of contemporary religion, society and belief without the 'attitude' or despair. A book which genuinely moves one on, and gives the feeling that there may yet be a future. Wonderful paradox - gay atheist refurbishes church prospects. With many a LAUGH! I'll say that again - a L-A-U-G-H. Are any churches out there? It's called INTELLIGENCE, HONESTY, TOLERATION, REFLECTION, CONCERN and HUMOUR.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and hugely thought provoking 15 Feb 2012
By Marco
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I won't go on a long rambling journey with this review. This is a brilliant read and is, in my humble opinion, Eagleton's best book to date. It's also incredibly human and real. If you don't read this book, you have missed something that will stay with you for a long time. More please!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By HamzahF
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Rollicking might seem an unusual description for a scholarly dissection of the arguments in the atheism/ theism debate, but Terry Eagleton grabbed my attention from page one and left me breathless as he battered away at a very wide range of modern liberal rationalist positions.

This book deserves more than a single reading; the first time is fun, but the breadth of subjects covered requires far greater thought to understand and appreciate the points underlying the wit. Poor old Ditchkins has been taking a bit of a battering in a number of recent books and although Eagleton spends a good portion of the book demolishing the New Atheists' views on religion, the balance is somewhat restored with insightful comments about the fundamentalist expressions of religion.

I found this to be a really enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is a passionately engaged book, written as a response to the work of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (an entity the author refers to collectively as `Ditchkins') who, Eagleton argues, have set out to demolish any possibility of belief in God but have completely missed their mark. This is because they have not the slightest idea of what belief in God is or may be, only the most caricatured idea of Theology, and a blinkered and untenable (`dewy-eyed') view of History as a Grand March to Progress, from the Enlightenment via Hegel and Darwin to... well, to Ditchkins, really. Eagleton, an atheist Marxist himself, has set himself to wind the argument back a way, and to say, OK, so the establishment of Christianity has betrayed the radicalism of Jesus and the early church (he is aware of the parallel with Stalinism) - even so, what can the secular left learn from Religion? And his answer is, a lot. "What other symbolic form," he asks, "has managed to forge such direct links between the most universal and absolute of truths and the everyday practices of countless millions of men and women?"

The major problem I have with this book is that, whilst this in itself sounds a worthwhile aim, we don't actually get all that much of it. What we do get is a sustained attack on Ditchkins. I read substantial portions of "The God Delusion" in order to check whether Eagleton was representing his arguments, and he seems to have done so fairly to me, though I confess I've not looked at Hitchens' "God Is Not Great." He points out that Ditchkins does not register that faith is not an intellectual belief, but an active commitment, and goes on to show that Ditchkins' rationalism is just as much a matter of faith.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Attacking "Ditchins"
Eagleton seems to be annoyed by the fact that Hitchens was a gifted orator and Dawkins claims to find happiness in science and facts. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Finn Jacobsen
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Perhaps I should have read the reviews first, but I was so delighted by Alister McGrath's 'Surprised By Reason', and seeing a few references to this book, promptly bought it. Read more
Published on 23 April 2012 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Eagleton is no scientist
For Eagleton to claim to understand, never mind critique, a real scientist like Dawkins is laughable. Read more
Published on 11 Jun 2010 by William Podmore
1.0 out of 5 stars another anti atheist disappointment
Eagleton clearly sees Dawkins and Hitchens as irritants which he scratches relentlessly (shades of the sort of Trotskyism that gives it a bad name). Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2010 by M. I. McGrath
4.0 out of 5 stars Reason, faith and revolution review
Item is a new book, published 2009.

This represented a good value purchase, which arrived fairly promptly and in excellent condition. Read more
Published on 24 Jan 2010 by Yogi fair
5.0 out of 5 stars Eagleton on great form
If I were going to throw a dinner party where I could be reasonably sure the conversation would turn, sooner or later, to God, I'd want Terry Eagleton to be a guest. Read more
Published on 31 Oct 2009 by Jeremy Bevan
5.0 out of 5 stars Eagleton's well targeted blast
This is a good book. It's cheerful, straightforward, well argued and iconoclastic.

It shatters the idols that atheists such as Dawkins and Hitchens have made for... Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2009 by Dr. Nicholas P. G. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Soaring on Eagleton's wings ...
Terry Eagleton is such a joy to read. His text is actually very dense in the amount of content it conveys in such a modest page run, yet it is so entertainingly written that you... Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2009 by P. Younger
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