Soul of Doubt : The Religious Roots of Unbelief from Luther to Marx
Oxford University Press 2016EISBN 9780199844623
From Freud to the new atheists, it is widely assumed that science is the enemy of religious faith. The idea is so pervasive that whole industries of religious apologetics converge around the challenge of Darwin, evolution, and the "secular worldview." This book challenges such assumptions by proposing a different cause of unbelief in the West: the Christian conscience. Tracing a history of doubt and unbelief from the Reformation to the age of Darwin and Karl Marx, The Soul of Doubt argues that the most powerful solvents of religious orthodoxy have been concepts of moral equity and personal freedom generated by Christianity itself. The book demonstrates that the radical criticism of philosophers as influential as Spinoza, Voltaire and Ludwig Feuerbach was not the product of science. It emerged from a collision between religious values and religious practices, preeminently acts of persecution. This study offers a bold interpretation of the Enlightenment as a movement of vigorous spirituality, and it turns on its head conventional wisdom about the impact of Darwin and scientific naturalism. The "nemesis of faith" was not science or secular reason: it was an ethical intuition that a dangerous God cannot be real.