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Saving God
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Table of Contents

PREFACE xi Chapter 1: Is Your God Really God? 1 BELIEVING IN GOD--ON THE "NAMES" OF GOD--THE MEANING OF "GOD" AND THE COMMON CONCEPTION OF GOD--WHAT IS SALVATION?--SALVATION VERSUS SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM Chapter 2: The Idolatrous Religions 18 THE BAN ON IDOLATRY--IDOLATRY AS PERVERSE WORSHIP--GRAVEN IMAGES AND THE HIGHEST ONE--IDOLATRY AS SERVILITY--THE RHETORIC OF IDOLATROUSNESS--THE SAME GOD?--THE PHARISEES' PROBLEM WITH JESUS--COULD WE BE IDOLATERS? Chapter 3: Supernaturalism and Scientism 37 SCIENTISM AND SUPERSTITION--SUPERNATURALISM--LEGITIMATE NATURALISM--SCIENTISM VERSUS SCIENCE--THE ARGUMENT FOR NATURALISM FROM TRUE RELIGION Chapter 4: The Phenomenological Approach 53 THE METHOD AND THE QUESTION--YAHWEH'S USE OF THE METHOD--A CRITERION, OR AN ENCLOSED CIRCLE?--YAHWEH'S CRITERION APPLIED TO HIMSELF--FORGIVINGTHE GOD--A REPLY TO YAHWEH'S ANSWER TO JOB Chapter 5: Is There an Internal Criterion of Religious Falsehood? 70 THE POPE'S CRITERION OF RELIGIOUS FALSEHOOD--A CONSEQUENCE OF THE POPE'S CRITERION--RELIGIOUS AND SCIENTIFIC FALLIBILISM Chapter 6: Why God? 80 DOESN'T SUBSTANTIVE REASONABLENESS SUFFICE?--THE FALL--HOMO INCURVATUS IN SE--THE REDEEMER? Chapter 7: After Monotheism 95 THE HIGHEST ONE--THE TETRAGRAMMATON--THE PARADOX OF THE HIGHEST ONE--SPEAKING OF THE HIGHEST ONE--EXISTENTS AS DEPENDENT ASPECTS OF EXISTENCE ITSELF--AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE THOMISTIC INTERPRETATION OF THE HIGHEST ONE Chapter 8: Process Panentheism 115 THE GOODNESS OF THE HIGHEST ONE--THE ANALOGY OF LOGOS--PROCESS PANENTHEISM--THE SELF-DISCLOSURE OF EXISTENCE ITSELF--THE PROBLEM IS WITH THE PANTHEON Chapter 9: Panentheism, Not Pantheism 126 DISTINGUISHING PANENTHEISM AND PANTHEISM--PRESENCE--PRESENCE AS DISCLOSURE--IS BEING ALMOST ENTIRELY WASTED?--UBIQUITOUS PRESENCE--AGAINST NATURAL REPRESENTATION--REPRESENTATION AND "CARRYING INFORMATION"--CAN CAUSATION ACCOUNT FOR ABOUTNESS?--WHAT COULD REPLACE THE REPRESENTATIONALIST TRADITION?--A DIAGNOSIS OF THE REPRESENTATIONALIST'S MISTAKE--A TRANSFORMED PICTURE OF "CONSCIOUSNESS" AND REALITY--CONFIRMING THE SURPRISING HYPOTHESIS Chapter 10: The Mind of God 152 THE OBJECTIVITY OF THE REALM OF SENSE--HOW THE STRUCTURE OF PRESENCE MIGHT IMPOSE EVOLUTIONARY CONSTRAINTS--OBJECTIVE MIND AND THE MIND OF THE HIGHEST ONE--THE DOUBLY DONATORY CHARACTER OF REALITY--DOES GOD EXIST?--THE HIGHEST ONE Chapter 11: Christianity without Spiritual Materialism 160 RELIGION AND VIOLENCE--THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GIRARD--WHERE IS ORIGINAL SINFULNESS?--ORIGINAL SINFULNESS AS SELF-WILL AND FALSE RIGHTEOUSNESS--CHRIST DESTROYS THE KINGDOM OF SELF-WILL AND FALSE RIGHTEOUSNESS--THE AFTERLIFE AS AN IDOLATROUS CONCEIT--AGAINST "MAN'S QUEST FOR MEANING"--THE AFTERLIFE AS RESISTANCE TO CHRIST--NATURALISM'S GIFT: RESURRECTION WITHOUT THE AFTERLIFE POSTSCRIPT 187 INDEX 189

About the Author

Mark Johnston is the Walter Cerf Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University and the author of "Surviving Death" (Princeton).

Reviews

Winner of the 2010 Award for Excellence in Religion: Constructive-Reflective Studies, American Academy of Religion One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2010 "The non-fiction book I most enjoyed this year might be a stocking-stuffer for both atheists and believers (it is slightly more likely to appeal to the former, but would certainly intrigue believers willing to think about their belief). It is Saving God: Religion After Idolatry (Princeton University Press), by the Princeton philosopher Mark Johnston. This book demolishes, with far greater precision and elegance than anything by Richard Dawkins."--James Wood, New Yorker "Outstanding."--Alan Wolfe, National Interest "This accessible, sophisticated, and thoughtful work will be an important addition to collections of both philosophy and theology."--Choice "[A]n astonishing book... [A] daring blend of human depth and philosophical originality."--Tony Coady, Australian Book Review "Saving God is a rich and provocative book... I found Saving God to be original, complex and insightful. However one reacts to Johnston's naturalistic reinterpretation of Christianity and the other monotheisms, one may still applaud his rejection of idolatrous uses of religion to serve human ends."--Lynne Rudder Baker, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "This witty and philosophically subtle book is ... very Maimonidean in its thoroughgoing rejection of superstition and idolatry as an offense to true religion."--Menachem Kellner, Jewish Review of Books "Surviving Death and Saving God both provided me with intellectual pleasure of a high order, even though I found many of the author's conclusions false and some morally repugnant. Johnston is the kind of atheist it's good for Christians to read, because he is intelligent, intellectually energetic, and serious about what he engages, and because he shows very clearly just where fastidiousness leads."--Paul J. Griffiths, Commonweal "Saving God: Religion after Idolatry is a brilliant book: erudite, intriguing and inventive. Anyone interested in the concept of God and the relationship between religion and naturalism will want to read it."--Allen Stairs, Philosophy in Review "[Surviving Death and Saving God] constitute a remarkably thorough and convincing treatment of two extremely important religious issues, those of the perennial allurements of idolatry and the deeply menacing fact of death, to say nothing of the books' endorsement and defense of an arduous but richly inspiring ideal of the religious life. The books are a welcome corrective for some of the most seductive and prevalent distortions of religious thought and practice. I heartily recommend them to the reader who relishes a bountifully laid, religiously nourishing, and deeply satisfying philosophical feast."--Donald A. Crosby, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

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