Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thinkers in the New Secularism: Michael Hampson

8/23/2008--Of course, not all the reaction to the New Secularism will come from secular writers. Religious writers have responded, and will continue to do so, to secularism. This process has been going on a long time, certainly since Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Some of this reaction comes from religious conservatives who basically condemn secularism. But some of it comes from religious liberals.

I have been accused of not taking liberal religion seriously. It is true that I have found liberal religion passionless, vague, politicized and without transformative hope. That is why I am delighted to have finally read Michael Hampson’s book, God Without God. I strongly recommend it to those Christians who have despaired of their tradition.

The book begins with a chapter on God that establishes Hampson as metaphysically modern. Secularists who read him will find no defense of the impossible or improbable. But they will find mystery.

The rest of the book is a serious, but accessible, study of Christian thought: Ethics, Bible, Creed, Prayer, Community and Eros. Hampson is both more radical than almost anyone else and at the same time curiously traditional. In his hands, the revolution that Jesus represented comes to life again. And it happens at the level of thought, not feeling. For those looking for intelligence in religion, this is the book.

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