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- The Authenticity of Faith: The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Experience
- Abilene Christian University Press
- Amazon Review/s
Contents: Prelude: A new kind of apologetics -- Masters of suspicion -- The future of an illusion -- The existential turn -- Terror management -- The two families of God -- Sick souls, winter Christians, and saints of darkness -- Defensive and existential believers -- Worldview defense revisited -- Feeling queasy about the incarnation -- The Thomas Kinkade effect -- The God who cracked -- Conclusion: The authenticity of faith.
Summary: A popular strategy among contemporary critics of religion is to explain religiosity as an evolutionary adaptation -- a behavior pattern that exists simply because it helped our early human ancestors thrive. An effective response to this type of argument requires the ability to integrate social scientific research, philosophical viewpoints, and theological beliefs. Using social scientific research, Beck identifies the flaws in Freud's dismissal of religion as a neurotic defense against mortal dread. Instead, Beck draws on the writings of William James to show the complexity of religious belief, which emphasizes the uniqueness of the individual believer. Written in a way that is accessible to readers who aren't trained in social scientific research, but rigorous in meeting the standards of the social sciences, The Authenticity of Faith is a masterful example of the "new apologetics." (Steven V. Rouse)
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