Hating god : the untold story of misotheism

by Bernard Schweizer

Hardcover, 2011



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Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011.

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LibraryThing member Big_Bang_Gorilla
In which the author posits a new category of religious stance which amounts to hatred of God. It is not the same thing as atheism; atheists don't believe in God, and thus by definition cannot hate him. This is on its face, quite logical, yet I found it a trifle glib; one of his misotheists, Friedrich Nietzsche, is regarded by the common man and scholar alike as the quintessential atheist, and another, Philip Pullman, is a self-identified atheist (in fact, Schweizer implies that he wrote Pullman a letter asking for his response to his designation as a misotheist and he responded with complete bewilderment at the notion). Even Schweizer seems (at times) to admit to a certain overlap between misotheism and atheism, and he muddies the waters further by introducing yet another concept, viz., "antitheism", which is to me neither intuitive nor well-explained, not to mention pitching yet another one, dystheism, into the mix four pages from book's end. . Further, many of the works he cites seem to me to be more anti-clerical or opposed to churches, creeds, or religion as it is practiced than to any abstract notion of God.

As for the book, the first half of it consists of a list of misotheists throughout history, which he subdivides into three subgroups: political (of whom he says little), absolute, and agonistic. This section of the book is extremely interesting and useful, even when one doesn't have total buyin to his assumptions and definitions. . The second half of the book contains six close studies in literary criticism which treat of novels, plays, and poems by some of his misotheists. I found these only sporadically interesting, usually when they concerned the one author with whom I have some familiarity and interest. The first half of the book is a pearl of great price, and those who enjoy and profit from literary criticism will doubtless like the book as a whole. :
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