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on 30 July 2015
A pretty good book. As Eagleton makes clear in the endnotes, the aim of this book is not a social history of secularism, but rather how various intellectuals, atheists to various degrees, tried to come up with something to fill the God-shaped hole left once the supreme being had been banished from their world views. Some, such as the German Idealists or the Romantics proposed some sort of spirit or supreme will to restore some sort of order or meaning to the world. It was really only when Nietzsche came along and proclaimed the 'death of God' when men started getting to grips that God was gone, and there was no use trying to come up with substitutes.

A fairly straightforward read, assuming you have a good familiarity with most of the major philosophers and intellectual movements of the past 300 years.
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on 9 December 2014
Nobody understands the Enlightenment and its progeny better than Eagleton (or writes so clearly) IMHO. It's one thing to write persuasively about what we have had to relinquish in order to make progress, quite another to be as persuasive about what we have to leave behind now; he does it for me anyway.
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on 19 April 2014
This is not an easy book to read. Eagleton spreads the literary net very wide and the sheer volume of authors he mentions is challenging to keep with and understand - especially in relation to the argument of the book. There is a suggestion of literary over-kill. However, the book rewards the reader who stays on focus and there is little doubt that the author knows his subject as he roams quite far and wide in response to the various topics he deals with, even if his presentation seems more loquacious than is probably necessary.
This reviewer was somewhat surprised that Eagleton did not offer more on the contribution made by Don Cupitt, the Cambridge philosopher of religion who is, arguably, the most prolific and insightful of all those writing in English on the subject and whose contribution to the "realism" (Yes God) "anti-realism" (No God) literature is quite extensive and profound. Perhaps greater concentration on this area of the subject would have been more helpful to the kind of readers his book will undoubtedly be attracted to Eagleton's book, if not his general writing.
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on 14 October 2016
Excellent product and service.
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on 5 April 2016
Excellent.
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on 25 June 2017
Whilst Eagleton's discussion of the difficulty mankind has had with replacing God with another socially cohesive belief system is fascinating, he assumes a lot of prior knowledge from the reader.

Entire chapters are devoted to certain movements, such as idealism and romanticism, with no clear explanation or definition of what these movements actually embodied or how they really differ from one another. If you haven't got a rough idea about these movements or the thinkers who gave them life then you're essentially left trying to work out what's happened after the event...or at least that was my experience as a fully certified dunce.

Things pick up a little when Eagleton's starts letting his punches swing a little more unreservedly in the final chapter, however, although his equating of radical Islamism to Christian fundamentalists in the Bible belt is worth flagging up as completely disingenuous.
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on 19 October 2016
We may not have intellectuals in this country but by golly for sixty years we've had that roguish gadfly Terry Eagleton at our backs. In France he would be revered. Controversialist to the marrow, Eagleton's books are never perfect but always compulsively readable, and as a cradle Catholic God is something he has always had to wrestle with, the grit in his oyster as he is in ours. What does he really believe? God knows.
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on 26 March 2014
I heard about this on Radio 4 and was intrigued to read it as it is dealing with a a very current aspect of life today in most Western cultures i.e. the move away from traditional religion due to our extensive (but not universal or totally credible) scientific knowledge of the world and universe we inhabit. With a need for belief in something to make life meaningful, even bearable sometimes, other quasi spiritual belief structures have sprung up to cover the gaps in our need for a metaphysical or otherwordly element to our lives dominated almost entirely by the material and sensory ... except in our creative aspirations in art, music and so on. Although the author is a confessed atheist, he does an excellent job in a readable way, if you have some background in Western philosophers, to lay out the historical, social and cultural shape of man's thinking about a supernatural deity and the changing world we inhabit and our ever ongoing attempt to understand and grasp its essence in the hope that we are not just an 'explosive' cause and effect. I think the book can take the reader individually to almost anywhere he wants to go.
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on 22 September 2015
He manages to say things we've been waiting to hear but can't quite find the words.
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on 1 March 2014
Frankly I'm struggling with this book as it presupposes a pretty solid grounding in philosophy and its terminology. I guess this will be great for Philosophy graduates and afficionados. But I'm not sure sure I'll get to the end at this point but I'lll give it my best shot.
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