The God Delusion Revisited (2019)



Richard Dawkins, by publishing The God Delusion,  has given strength to those who argue that there is no God, and that the universe that we live in proceeds without the necessity of a divinity.

This might be true. But the arguments he explores, which have been used for hundreds of years to support belief and rational discussion of the reality or otherwise of God are not the only ones which have been used for this purpose.

Drawing on Plato, Aristotle, Proclus, Iamblichus, Olympiodorus and other ancient writers, The God Delusion Revisited explores these other modes of argument, which were the basis of informed discussion of both the divine and the nature of reality in antiquity. They also appear in other contemporary eastern religions, which are discussed later in the book. These arguments are not falsifiable in the way that the medieval arguments are, and, as a consequence, sometimes suggest that our universe is a very strange place indeed.

The God Delusion Revisited begins with a critical review of Dawkins book and discusses the worth and context of all the main arguments. In particular, it explores the ontological argument in detail, which has been one of the main ways in which the reality of divinity has been discussed since the Middle Ages. This discussion shows that the language and terminology used in the ontological argument in several key texts contains assumptions which render the argument essentially meaningless. It reviews in detail the arguments of St Anselm, George Berkeley, Descartes, Hume and Kant.

In addition, The God Delusion Revisited argues that the very definition of religion which has come down to us from Cicero, Augustine and Lactantius, is seriously flawed too, and discusses alternative ways of understanding the concept of 'religio'. It also compares Cicero's definition with ideas of the divine in Hinduism, and other eastern religions. As it turns out, belief has virtually no function in both ancient and eastern religions, since they are, for the most part concerned with ritual observance, and knowledge.

Readers of The God Delusion will know that it is polemical rather than a scholarly work (it doesn't pretend to be), so it is very lightly referenced. The God Delusion Revisited is a scholarly work, and provides full references, relevant quotations and discussion. So the book will be useful to those wanting a more in depth understanding of the issues and arguments, whether atheistically inclined, or inclined to philosophical and theological discussion of divine things.

The God Delusion Revisited will be published as an ebook in 2019, via Itunes.

Article amended January 30, 2017, and August 17, 2017.

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