The most discussed and most significant issue on the religious scene today is whether it is possible, or even desirable, to believe in God. Mr. Kaufman's valuable study does not offer a doctrine of God, but instead explores why God is a problem for many moderns, the dimensions of that problem, and the inner logic of the notion of God as it has developed in Western culture.
His object is to determine the function or significance of talk about God: how the concept of God is generated in human experience; the special problems in turn generated by this concept (for example, the intelligibility of the idea of transcendence, the problem of theodicy) and how they are met; and under what circumstances the idea of God is credible or important or even indispensable. He does not try to prove God's existence or nonexistence, but elucidates what the concept of God means and the important human needs it fulfills.
Four of the eleven essays have been previously published, at least in part; seven are completely new.
Gordon D. Kaufman was Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr., Professor of Divinity at Harvard University.
Preface Part I. Introduction 1. The Problem of God 2. Christian Theology and the Scientific Study of Religion Part II. God 3. Transcendence Without Mythology 4. Two Models of Transcendence 5. God as Symbol Part III. God and the World 6. On the Meaning of "Act of God" 7. Revelation and Cultural History 8. God and Evil Part IV. Belief and Unbelief 9. Secular, Religious, and Theistic World-Views 10. The Foundations of Belief 11. The Secular Utility of "God-Talk" Index