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Customer Review

17 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical and reactionary, 11 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (Paperback)
Gray's latest diatribe against the west is built on the muddled head theory that because the Enlightenment aimed to improve the lot of humanity it must therefore be 'utopian', and therefore religious in nature.

The fact that the Enlightenment met considerable opposition from religion - and still does in many parts of the world - escapes Gray's notice.

For Gray, everything is black and white. If the world can't be mede perfect it cannot be improved and there's no point trying.

He's like a spoilt child ranting about being given the wrong birthday present so he doesn't want anything.

Roger Scruton does this better, and funnier.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Oct 2008 14:34:29 BDT
Brother John says:
Read this review as if it were about the reviewer and you will learn more than if you consider it a reliable comment on the book in question. Hysterical and reactionary indeed, our man seems to give either one star or five stars to his subjects. Nothing black and white there, then.

Posted on 28 Oct 2008 19:00:16 GMT
SP Crowley says:
Gray doesn't argue that utopian ideas are religious per se, but that they belong to a philosophical lineage that has religious origins. He could be criticised for offering a critique of western political thought without positing any alternative but this book is, strictly speaking, polemical and that is the nature of the beast.

Posted on 22 Dec 2008 13:56:57 GMT
Agree with Brother John.

I can't abide by reviews like this that are so kneejerk and reactionary. If one explains critically why they do not like a book, then fine..but this?? How human!

Posted on 3 Mar 2012 11:20:38 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Mar 2012 11:21:32 GMT
A reader says:
Firstly, what SP Crowley says is correct and it's important because a lot of the other 1 star reviewers make the same mistake (on this and Gray's other books). The utopian mindset that acts as the foundation for many religions is in fact still prevalent in many Enlightenment ideologies, i.e. it came first and is the genesis of the troubles people look to blame on the superfluous. In fact you can often hear the religious and non-religious engage in point scoring arguments on this matter without realising they are looking in the mirror.

The only point I can add relates to the reviewer saying that Gray's view is, "if the world can't be made perfect it cannot be improved and there's no point trying". If that were the case then why would Gray bother writing books? This just suggests the reviewer has a limited capacity for learning and is ultimately religious in their 'thinking'.
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