"Meaning and Mystery" offers a challenge to the way Philosophy has traditionally approached the issue of belief in God as a theoretical problem, proposing instead a form of reflection more appropriate to the practical nature of the issue. Makes use of abundant illustrative material, from both literature, such as "Les Miserables," Edwin Abott's "Flatland," Yann Martel's "Life of Pi" and Leo Tolstoy's "A Confession," and popular culture, such as advertisements, the television series "Joan of Arcadia" and the film "Stranger Than Fiction" Uses imaginative scenarios to offer explanations of central concepts Incorporates theories on human thought and behavior in exploring the formation of religious belief Written in a style that is accessible to readers with little background knowledge of philosophy.
"This book achieves something very difficult: it provides a fresh and innovative way of looking at the age-old questions about religious faith that philosophers have argued about for centuries. Written in a clear and engaging style, Holley shows the role 'life-orienting stories' play for both believers and atheists, and, without dogmatism or minimizing difficulties, he shows how religious faith might be possible in the contemporary world."
--C. Stephen Evans, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University
"The epistemic bearing of all-encompassing narratives on religious belief and disbelief has been largely neglected by philosophers in the English speaking world. Holley's lucid and well-written book is a welcome corrective."
--William J. Wainwright, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Philosophers typically assume that the appropriate way to reflect on God's existence is to consider whether God is needed as a hypothesis to explain generally accepted facts. In contrast, David Holley proposes that the question of belief should be raised within the practical context of deciding on a life-orienting story, a narrative that enables us to interpret the significance of our experiences and functions as a guide to how to live. Using insights from sociology and cognitive psychology to illuminate the nature of religious beliefs, Holley shows how removing religious questions from their larger practical context distorts our thinking about them.
"Meaning and Mystery" makes abundant use of illustrative material, including examples drawn from television shows such as "Joan of Arcadia," from films such as "Stranger Than Fiction," as well as from literature such as "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi," "Flatland," and Leo Tolstoy's "A Confession." Challenging the way philosophy has traditionally approached the question of God's existence, this book will be of interest to anyone who wants to think seriously about belief in God.