home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted December 17, 2014

Book: The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss
Author: David Bentley Hart
Yale University Press. New Haven, Connecticut. 2014. Pp. 365

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Are those who ferociously debate the existence of God even arguing about the same thing? What is God? A revered religious scholar brings reason to the discussion, exploring how the world's major religions define God and demolishing misconceptions that confuse the conversation.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The beginning of all philosophy, according to both Plato and Aristotle, lies in the experience of wonder. One might go further and say that the beginning of all serious thought --- all reflection upon the world that is not merely calculative or appetitive --- begins in a moment of unsettling or delighted surprise.

. . .As we age we lose our sense of the intimate otherness of things; we allow habit to displace awe, inevitability to banish delight; we grow into adulthood and put away childish things.

. . .When it[wonder] comes, it is a moment of alienation from the ordinary perhaps, but not one of disaffection or loss; as long as the experience lasts, in fact, it has a certain quality of mystifying happiness about it, the exhilarating feeling that one is at the border of some tremendous and beautiful discovery. One realizes that everything about the world that seems so unexceptional and drearily predictable is in fact charged with an immense and imponderable mystery. In that instant one is aware, even if the precise formulation eludes one, that everything one knows exists in an irreducibly gratuitous way.

Table of Contents:

Part One
God, Gods, and the World
One "God" is not a proper name
Two Pictures of the world

Part Two
Being, Consciousness, Bliss
Three Being (Sat)
Four Consciousness (Chit)
Five Bliss (Ananda)

Part three
The reality of God
Six Illusion and Reality