What's New in Religion? A Critical Study of New Theology, New Morality, and Secular Christianity [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 22 (2):376-377 (1968)

This is a very readable theological attack on current religious journalism about "the death of God" and its moral consequences. Rightly chiding the "radical" theologians for their tendentious use of words like "new," Hamilton wrongly equates their talk of "the secular" with support of the profane and so sometimes misses the import of their groping for new ways of thinking and acting as Christians. Seen through his eyes, much of their thought is really nineteenth century liberal humanism repackaged for the suburban market. Recognizing the incoherence of the Barth-Bonhoeffer concept of religion, he nevertheless uses it when accusing Bishop Robinson, van Buren, and the rest of replacing Christianity with religion, rather than inaugurating a "religionless Christianity," as they intend. The best part of the book is an analysis of what Bonhoeffer really meant by "religionless Christianity" and other such provocative phrases. Like those he criticizes, Hamilton is quite sure that the Bible supports only his version of Christianity. His unabashed neo-orthodoxy commits him to conceiving of God as an arbitrary dictator, but it also provides him with a keen critical vantage-point, by reference to which all philosophical theologies are damned as modernizing, hypothetical, Hegelian, and un-Christian at heart. His own preference for talk of "natural piety" instead of "secular Christianity" is too sketchily presented to be assessed.--C. P. S.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1968222223
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