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The Face of God
The Face of God
by Roger Scruton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars God in a Postmodern World, 18 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Face of God (Hardcover)
Review of The Face of God: The Gifford Lectures 2010 Roger Scruton [continuum 2012]
In the middle of last century Austin Farrer wrote what should have been a seminal book exploring the compatibility of science and religion when God is understood through the framework of human comprehension that is theology in parallel with science. Regrettably, the path taken in the science and religion debate since has been predominantly adversarial; to the point where science largely rejects religion as irrelevant not just to scientific understanding but to understanding per se while religion retreats into a cocoon of denial, either by ignoring science altogether or else by seeking to trivialize scientific understanding through pseudo- science as evidenced in Creation Science and Intelligent Design arguments. (See my review of Farrer's A Science of God? at Amazon)
Roger Scruton's Gifford Lectures of 2010, now published as The Face of God, offers the possibility of rapprochement again - in keeping with the foundational intent of the Gifford bequest - as he "explores what we lose when we lose [God] belief". Scruton argues that expressing a disbelief in God "is not only an intellectual phenomenon ...but also a moral phenomenon, involving a turning away from God". Through the analysis of face as the core concept of meaning and understanding for a metaphysic in harmony with the diversity of human knowledge and understanding, Scruton seeks to re-open the transcendental dimension that has been lost to Postmodern consciousness.
God is not a `hypothesis' to be set beside the fundamental constants and the laws of quantum dynamics. .... It is not causation but revelation that leads us to such an entity ..." And that revelation is, ultimately, the revelation of the face of God. But in a consumer and utilitarian culture such as ours, "we should not be surprised ... if God is so rarely encountered now" and "that moments of sacred awe should be rare among us". "... it is surely this, rather than the arguments of the atheists, that has led to the decline of religion". "By remaking human beings and their habitat as objects to consume rather than subjects to revere we invite the degradation of both". For then we have created a world without faces, without Face: without God.Roger Scruton's Gifford Lectures are an important challenge to religious meaning and understanding for a Postmodern world. His illustration of his arguments through the exploration of art and architecture, music and the variety of human expression makes for a rewarding and enlightening reflective journey.

A Science of God
A Science of God
by Austin Farrer
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 21st Century Precursor, 16 Feb 2012
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This review is from: A Science of God (Paperback)
Farrer's book should have propelled us down the path of mainstream relevance for both theology and science in the quest for comprehensive human understanding such that both would wrestle with the challenges raised by the other. Instead we are now entering the 21st century with the public face of theology in relation to science being identified with the farce of Creation Science and the equally farcical reduction of science to scientism, an overview of understanding that would limit all human comprehension to the outcomes of scientific methodology.
Yes, Farrer`s book speaks in the words and style of its time and this does make demands of the 21st. century reader. But a central element of those demands is the challenge to re-trace our steps from the cul-de-sac into which we are being led by the proponents of Creation Science and scientism and to re-engage in the authentic debate for comprehensive human understanding, informed by science and theology, that Farrer was endeavouring to facilitate. Farrer's A Science of God ? with its exploration of a science compatible with God and understood through the framework of human comprehension that is theology in parallel with science is a significant contribution, methodologically and theoretically, toward this path in the 21st. century world. A Science of God? is a must-read for those who would join the real science and religion debate of our time and not be consumed by the farce of the pseudo-theology of Creation Science and the pseudo science of scientism.
Graeme K. C. Kerr Chaplain Emeritus Haileybury College Melbourne and Foundation Lecturer in Philosophy of Science RMIT Melbourne A Science of God

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