Monday, May 9, 2011

Reading The Last Superstition

Now that I have some confidence that Edward Feser is able to make himself clear when he wants, I've started reading his book, The Last Superstition; a Refutation of the New Atheism.

It's a good thing I didn't try reading the book before my confidence in Feser had been established. As he himself describes it, it is an "angry book," wherein not only does he try to refute Atheism, but also takes potshots at liberals and conspiracy theorists. Since I am both of those, I probably would have thrown the book out before I got past the first chapter. So if you are a liberal, conspiracy theorist or a "secularist," my guess is that you would find Feser's book to be rough sailing. Which is too bad. I'm in the second chapter, where he presents a very concise yet clear view of Greek philosophy, which is the foundation for Western thought. I want to read his book, since I've always had trouble understanding Aristotle. How significant is Aristotle? According to Feser,

"Abandoning Aristotelianism, as the founders of modern philosophy did, was the single greatest mistake ever made in the entire history of Western thought."

Having obtained an undergraduate degree in philosophy from a university where modern analytic philosophy was the thing, I can vouch for the fact that Aristotle was never taken very seriously. If modern philosophical problems (and there are many) can be traced to rejecting Aristotle, then understanding him may be the key to fixing those problems. So I look forward in hope to Professor Feser being able to explain Aristotle (and Aquinas) to me.

And Feser has also eased my conscience. I often doubt the wisdom of occasionally spouting off about my liberalism and conspiracy notions. He's reminded me that there is a need for a voice like mine, if only to show that one can believe in God without being a conservative who swallows, unexamined, whatever official account is given of major political events.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I am from Australia.

Please find a set of references which give a radical critique of the naive mommy-daddy superstitious nonsense at the root of the conventional self-serving tribalistic religiosity that Feser promotes.

Bilbo said...

Hi John,

Usually when people criticize the idea that God is personal, what they offer in place is a view of God as something less than personal, like a fine mist spread throughout the universe, and that at most we can only have an I-It relationship with God.

Christians believe that God is more than a person, not less. That means that God is someone who can communicate with us, and with whom we can have an I-Thou relationship.

By the way, how's the weather in Australia this time of year?