Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies

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9780300164299: Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies
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Currently it is fashionable to be devoutly undevout. Religion's most passionate antagonists - Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and others - have publishers competing eagerly to market their various denunciations of religion, monotheism, Christianity and Roman Catholicism. But contemporary antireligious polemics are based not only upon profound conceptual confusions but upon facile simplifications of history or even outright historical ignorance: so contends David Bentley Hart in this bold correction of the distortions. One of the most brilliant scholars of religion of our time, Hart provides a powerful antidote to the New Atheists' misrepresentations of the Christian past, bringing into focus the truth about the most radical revolution in Western history. Hart outlines how Christianity transformed the ancient world in ways we may have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring great dignity on human beings, subverting the cruelest aspects of pagan society and elevating charity above all virtues. He then argues that what we term the 'Age of Reason' was in fact the beginning of the eclipse of reason's authority as a cultural value. Hart closes the book in the present, delineating the ominous consequences of the decline of Christendom in a culture that is built upon its moral and spiritual values.

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Review:

'Few things are so delightful as watching someone who has taken the time to acquire a lot of learning casually, even effortlessly, dismantle the claims of lazy grandstanders - Hart isn't making a bid for wealth, fame, or cocktail-party acceptance: he knows whereof he speaks.' --Stefan Beck, 'New Criterion'

'Anyone interested in taking the debate about God to the next level should read and reflect on Hart's spirited brief on behalf of Christian truth.' --Damon Linker, 'New Republic'

About the Author:

David Bentley Hart is visiting professor, Theology Department, Providence College, and author of several books, including 'In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments' and 'The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth'.

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Among all the great transitions that have marked Western history, only one-the triumph of Christianity-can be called in the fullest sense a "revolution" In this provocative book one of the most brilliant scholars of religion today dismantles distorted religious "histories" offered up by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and other contemporary critics of religion and advocates of atheism. David Bentley Hart provides a bold correction of the New Atheists's misrepresentations of the Christian past, countering their polemics with a brilliant account of Christianity and its message of human charity as the most revolutionary movement in all of Western history.Hart outlines how Christianity transformed the ancient world in ways we may have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring great dignity on human beings, subverting the cruelest aspects of pagan society, and elevating charity above all virtues. He then argues that what we term the "Age of Reason" was in fact the beginning of the eclipse of reason's authority as a cultural value. Hart closes the book in the present, delineating the ominous consequences of the decline of Christendom in a culture that is built upon its moral and spiritual values. Seller Inventory # ABZ9780300164299

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Book Description Yale University Press February 2010, 2010. Paper Back. Condition: New. The recent bestselling broadsides of the 'new atheists'-e.g. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, even literary figures like Philip Pullman and Dan Brown-cause our author to long for Old Atheists (or if not atheist, certainly anti-Christian cousins), such as Celsus, Diderot, Voltaire, Hume, Gibbon, and Nietzsche, all of whom Hart evokes as at least intellectually respectable. So Hart only spends a chapter or two dismissing the arguments of Dawkins and Co. His attentions are much more drawn to that which is expressed in the subtitle of this magnificent book: the Christian Revolution. Along the way, he historically deconstructs the material evidence of what might be called the Enlightenment consensus about the evils of Christianity: intolerance, suppression of scientific progress, championing of ignorance. The Christian revolution with which Hart is fascinated concerns the radical and unprecedented nature of the Church's insistence on the infinite value of each human person in the context of the ancient world. Here, where women, slaves, and the common laborer counted as nothing, came a proclamation and a practice-especially in the Church's worship, care for the poor, and theology-- that effectively annihilated distinctions of class, gender, and ethnicity. When all due qualifications are made for early Christianity's lapses-Hart is bracingly honest here-its rise, triumph, and transformation of the Roman world must be considered without parallel in the history of the West. Hart can pack more erudite content into sometimes perfect sentences than almost any writer we know, and his chapter, 'The Face of the Faceless,' is simply a masterpiece, tempting us to predict an immortal brilliance within its setting comparable to Dostoevsky's 'Grand Inquisitor' in The Brothers Karamazov. Seller Inventory # 164930

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Book Description Yale University Press February 2010, 2010. Paper Back. Condition: New. The recent bestselling broadsides of the 'new atheists'-e.g. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, even literary figures like Philip Pullman and Dan Brown-cause our author to long for Old Atheists (or if not atheist, certainly anti-Christian cousins), such as Celsus, Diderot, Voltaire, Hume, Gibbon, and Nietzsche, all of whom Hart evokes as at least intellectually respectable. So Hart only spends a chapter or two dismissing the arguments of Dawkins and Co. His attentions are much more drawn to that which is expressed in the subtitle of this magnificent book: the Christian Revolution. Along the way, he historically deconstructs the material evidence of what might be called the Enlightenment consensus about the evils of Christianity: intolerance, suppression of scientific progress, championing of ignorance. The Christian revolution with which Hart is fascinated concerns the radical and unprecedented nature of the Church's insistence on the infinite value of each human person in the context of the ancient world. Here, where women, slaves, and the common laborer counted as nothing, came a proclamation and a practice-especially in the Church's worship, care for the poor, and theology-- that effectively annihilated distinctions of class, gender, and ethnicity. When all due qualifications are made for early Christianity's lapses-Hart is bracingly honest here-its rise, triumph, and transformation of the Roman world must be considered without parallel in the history of the West. Hart can pack more erudite content into sometimes perfect sentences than almost any writer we know, and his chapter, 'The Face of the Faceless,' is simply a masterpiece, tempting us to predict an immortal brilliance within its setting comparable to Dostoevsky's 'Grand Inquisitor' in The Brothers Karamazov. Seller Inventory # 172436

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