Is Bob Wright the long awaited synthesis of Marx and Hegel?

May 11, 2009

Andrew Sullivan’s review of Wright’s new book sure makes him sound like it:

Wright’s core and vital point is that this is not a descent into total relativism or randomness. It is propelled by reason interacting with revelation, coupled with sporadic outbreaks of religious doubt and sheer curiosity. The Evolution of God is best understood as the evolution of human understanding of truth — even to the edge of our knowledge where mystery and meditation take over.
What’s subtle about the book is that while it makes a materialist case for how God evolved — as a function of trade and travel, globalisation and science — it does not reduce faith to these facts on the ground. Hovering over the book is a small sense that, far from disproving the existence of God, this evolving doctrine might point merely to humankind’s slow education into the real nature of the divine.
Today’s fundamentalists posit a doctrinal truth rooted in the past, in a moment of revelation we are always trying to capture, to nail down in a literal phrase. But what if the final word is not in the human past but in the human future — as we assimilate our global experiences of the divine and try to make sense of all of them? What if we are travelling towards our deepest moment of religious truth rather than away from it?

Wright’s core and vital point is that this is not a descent into total relativism or randomness. It is propelled by reason interacting with revelation, coupled with sporadic outbreaks of religious doubt and sheer curiosity. The Evolution of God is best understood as the evolution of human understanding of truth — even to the edge of our knowledge where mystery and meditation take over.

What’s subtle about the book is that while it makes a materialist case for how God evolved — as a function of trade and travel, globalisation and science — it does not reduce faith to these facts on the ground. Hovering over the book is a small sense that, far from disproving the existence of God, this evolving doctrine might point merely to humankind’s slow education into the real nature of the divine.

Today’s fundamentalists posit a doctrinal truth rooted in the past, in a moment of revelation we are always trying to capture, to nail down in a literal phrase. But what if the final word is not in the human past but in the human future — as we assimilate our global experiences of the divine and try to make sense of all of them? What if we are travelling towards our deepest moment of religious truth rather than away from it?

I’m curious to read it, though that article about Paul was, uh, disconcertingly optimistic

 

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