By Jennifer Michael Hecht
Within the culture of grand sweeping histories akin to From sunrise To Decadence, The constitution of medical Revolutions, and A historical past of God, Hecht champions doubt and wondering as one of many nice and noble, if unheralded, highbrow traditions that distinguish the Western brain especially-from Socrates to Galileo and Darwin to Wittgenstein and Hawking. this is often an account of the world's maximum ‘intellectual virtuosos,' who're additionally humanity's maximum doubters and disbelievers, from the traditional Greek philosophers, Jesus, and the jap religions, to trendy secular equivalents Marx, Freud and Darwin—and their makes an attempt to reconcile the seeming meaninglessness of the universe with the human want for meaning,
This awesome booklet levels from the early Greeks, Hebrew figures comparable to activity and Ecclesiastes, jap serious knowledge, Roman stoicism, Jesus as a guy of doubt, Gnosticism and Christian mystics, medieval Islamic, Jewish and Christian skeptics, secularism, the increase of technological know-how, smooth and modern severe thinkers corresponding to Schopenhauer, Darwin, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, the existentialists.
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If anything there is evidence that Old Testament doctrine on the afterlife is quite diverse and that even the New Testament is not utterly uniform in its depiction of the hereafter. However, for the purpose of this study we will largely prescind from issues within the New Testament and focus on the more obvious problems present within the Old Testament, in which certain writers went so far as to deny altogether the reality of life after death for man. We will now survey examples of such denials, beginning with the work of the prophet Isaiah.
And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but when he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and he repented of the evil (1 Chr 21:15; cf. 2 Sm 24:16). [The angel of the Lord] said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Gn 22:12). In the first passage, we discover that God is “sorry” and “grieved” over his creation of man, odd sentiments to behold in an omniscient being who presumably would foresee man’s sin even before his creation.
16 Below, we will explore the question with several series of statements which acutely frame the problem: [Yahweh] blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark (Gn 7:23). At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to kill him (Ex 4:24). And that night the angel of the Lord went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies (2 Kgs 19:35).