The God Problem: Alternatives to Fundamentalism

What The twenty-first century has witnessed a dangerous shift in focus about belief (or non-belief) in God. God is not to be debated but defended at all costs. in short, God has become a problem. How then might we return to a reasoned debate about God’s existence? In this book, Nigel Leaves evaluates four ways of addressing the “God problem” – panentheism, non-realism, grassroots spirituality, and religious naturalism. These are the current responses to the increasing difficulty of God-talk in the context of the latest critical and scientific thinking. Leaves provides an excellent point of departure and a resource for a discussion on how we may speak of God today.

Resource Types: Books.

Review & Commentary

One thought on “The God Problem: Alternatives to Fundamentalism

  1. Review

    Nigel Leaves knows the institutional church. As an Anglican priest he has served parishes in the UK, New Guinea, and Hong Kong; and after a stint as Chaplain to the Bishop of Perth, Australia, he is presently Warden and Director of Studies at Wollaston Theological College just outside of Perth. But as a citizen of one of the world's most secular nations, he knows the difficulty of promoting a traditional faith in a post-Christian world. And since to remain solvent his college has to double as a retreat center, he has gained first-hand acquaintance with much of the astonishing array of new-age groups that he has termed "the smorgasbord of grass-roots spiritualities."

    But as a scholar he is also familiar with the panentheism of Jack Spong and Marcus Borg, the radical non-realism of Lloyd Geering and Don Cupitt (he has written a two-volume exposition of Cupitt's work), and the growing body of religious naturalism – the evocation of awe and wonder at the beauty of nature – found in writers like Ursula Goodenough.

    The God Problem: Alternatives to Fundamentalism is a compact and highly readable examination of the problem of squaring the violence done in the name of religion with the theistic God of the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. It focuses on those who are trying to reform or reimagine that tradition in order to create a continuing role for religion in a more humane world. And while one may hazard a shrewd guess at Leaves' personal preference among the four paths he delineates, he leaves it to the reader to decide which of them best points the way forward to a meaningful encounter with life in the twenty-first century.

    The text is sufficiently clear and accessible that one need not be a specialist – let alone a theologian – to follow and become absorbed by the material; but even trained theologians will find it a well-footnoted and useful reference for viewing the present state of a crucial religious debate.

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