The Plausible God: Secular Reflections on Liberal Jewish by Mitchell Silver

By Mitchell Silver

No less than because the 17th century, the normal God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has been stressed to comply to the clinical worldview. around the monotheistic traditions there has emerged a liberalconception of God suitable with a thoroughgoing naturalism. for plenty of, this liberal newGod is the single credible God. yet is it an invaluable God? Does trust in so malleable a deity come from, or result in, various political, ethical, mental, or aesthetic phenomena from atheism?A believable God evaluates the hot God via interpreting the theology of 3 contemporary Jewish thinkers -Mordechai Kaplan, Michael Lerner, and Arthur Green-and compares religion within the new God to disbelief in any gods. Mitchell Silver unearths what's at stake within the selection among naturalistic liberal theology and a nontheistic naturalism with no gods. Silver poses the query: whether it is to be both the recent God or no God, what does-what should-determine the choice?Although Jewish thinkers are used because the fundamental exemplars of latest God theology, Silver explores advancements in modern Christian idea, japanese spiritual traditions, and New Agereligion. A believable God constitutes an important contribution to present discussions of the connection among technology and faith, in addition to to discussions in regards to the which means of the belief of God itself in glossy life.A remarkable piece of labor. . . . Many marvelous passages, with very transparent and unique recommendations, excellently put.-Daniel C. Dennett, writer of Breaking the Spell: faith as a usual Phenomenon

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16088$ $CH1 08-31-06 15:27:47 PS PAGE 12 T H E N E W G O D ’ S R E L E VA N C E Gerard suggests that he has ‘‘merely lost faith in an older and unacceptable notion of God’’ (New York Times Magazine, Feb. 9, 2003, p. 26). Presumably, faith can be restored with a newer, acceptable notion of God. The ‘‘new God Jews’’ can say the prayers and mean them. As a child, I would sit in synagogue with adults who mumbled the prayers as quickly as possible. They seemed to be praying to get through an obligatory recitation—important to say, in spite of the fact that there was no significance to the meaning of what was being said.

That the universe can undergo change strikes me as perfectly compatible with naturalism. ’’ I rail against ineffability in appendix A, but I do not charge it with being especially incompatible with naturalism. True, ineffability is an ally of mystification, and mystification an ally of supernaturalism, but I am not sure that these alliances are transitive, and there is surely no strict entailment between ineffability and supernaturalism. The third claim that Lerner rejects does seem to touch the core of naturalism, that everything, without exception, follows the ‘‘laws’’ of nature.

It is the correct construal that is meant to have all of the connotations that lets God be God. It is the correct construal of all being that earns it the divine title. The addition to all being is further description of it. The additional features that make the universe (henceforth my neutral term for ‘‘all being’’) into God are usually structural or processional. The 15 ................. 16088$ $CH2 08-31-06 15:27:45 PS PAGE 15 A P L AU S I B L E G O D claim is that the universe deserves to be called God by virtue of its inherent structure or by virtue of its natural processes (Lerner 1994, Kaplan 1934, Green 1992).

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