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The Faith of a Heretic

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Published (first published 1978)
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Jul 17, 2012 Nick rated it it was amazing
This graceful statement of Kaufmann's basic spiritual outlook and call for intellectual integrity could serve as a soul enema for anyone. Kaufmann's discussion of the moral superiority of Old Testament Judaism (real social-moral concern for others divorced from otherworldly reward) to Christianity ("blessed are the meek...for I shall pay them off!") will certainly stick with me, as will his analysis of the weak-sauce liberal Protestant theologians of the 20th century, who purport to offer everyt ...more
Paul O'Leary
Kaufman's exploration of religion and the need to keep an open mind feels dated to me. His targets are names less remembered than they once were, such as Bultmann and Tillich. He argues persuasively that a religion denuded of troublesome facts until its essence is distilled is in essence on a par with any other religion worthy of the name. Covering this up has been the job of theologians since religious dogma separated one God from another. This position and it's attached consequences were once ...more
Hugh Coverly
Jul 13, 2015 Hugh Coverly rated it it was amazing
Kaufmann presents his "quest for honesty" in religion, theology and philosophy. When I first read this book twenty years ago, I was still immersed in theological studies at seminary, and now I am a committed atheist. As an atheist, my latest reading of the book reconfirmed my absence of belief in God. In clear and precise language Kaufmann presents devastating critiques of God, religion, theology and philosophy. The book has a contemporary feel, even though it betrays its age by references clear ...more
Paul Dinger
Jan 04, 2009 Paul Dinger rated it it was amazing
I read this book in college and I can honestly say it has stayed with me. This is not a book you read in order to believe anything, but to doupt Everything. You will not come away knowing what Kauffmann knows but wondering if you know as much as you think you do. The target here is intellectual dishonesty and it is revealed and dragged thru the mud. I have been having a dialoge with this book since reading it and it's companion piece. Some books you read, my old philosophy teacher used to say, a ...more
Robert Gourley
Entertaining, witty, interesting, though often intellectually dishonest; first published in 1959, certainly one of the progenitors of the anti-authoritarian spirit of the baby-boomers to the faddish atheism of today.
Frankie Della Torre
Kaufmann made me strive to obtain, by God's grace, I pray, the faith of a heretic.
Feb 07, 2011 Bruce rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot, despite some rambling and redundancies. It is a very intelligent critique of religion and philosophy (a sequel to his earlier Critique of Religion and Philosophy) which is often insightful and informative. Kaufmann gives a lot of himself in the book, and I came to wish he were still alive so I could discuss certain topics with him.
Oct 14, 2012 Ramses rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, to-reread
This is one of those books I will buy my own copy of and keep on my shelf for years to come. It may need to be consulted occasionally.
Feb 15, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What the childish and puerile 'new atheists' tried to do in more recent times was once done with actual style and knowledge by Walter Kaufmann, someone who actually knew what they were talking about.

He is still buried deep within that world I once inhabited which I can no longer abide, the intellectual school of liberalism (meant in the general rather than American political sense) but the fact that he can be so convincing even from such a vantage point is refreshing considering most of the driv
Nov 17, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worldviewa, filosofa
Herr Kaufmann thinks clearly. I dearly wish everyone i ever knew would read this book and endeavor to understand its points. he has a gentle way of elucidating difficult concepts, as if he were richard dawkins without the rancor. he is well versed in ancient and contemporary philosophy, ancient and contemporary religion, and even psychology, such as it was in the 1950s.

honesty. he wants us to aspire to honesty. with ourselves. with our children. with our neighbor. not sincerity, but honesty. th
Apr 12, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it
I read this book years ago, but I still think about it from time to time. Some of it makes no sense (not to be confused with being hard to understand, mind you) and is arranged in a strange way. But, Kaufman has some fascinating ideas. My favorite was his chapter on God being either all-powerful OR all-merciful. You have to choose one or the other, Kaufman argues-- and he won't tell you which to choose. I also think what he has to say about death is amazing.
Brian Reinhart
Oct 08, 2013 Brian Reinhart rated it it was amazing
The best book on atheism and non-religion that I've ever read, and I've read a lot of them. Kaufmann is smarter, nimbler, kinder, more understanding, and more insightful than Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.

Try to find the later paperback with the red cover that has a new preface. Not that this classic is available anywhere, when it should be everywhere.
Jerry Wall
Good morality discussion. `Biblical moral code doesn't work because based on fear of punishment or bribe with hope of reward. Decisions to be moral should be based on a thought process using reason to decide on appropriate aspects of such a code ...more
Chris Bonds
Mar 17, 2013 Chris Bonds rated it it was amazing
Don't have time to write a review just now, will say this is one of the best books I've read in a long time.
Christopher Phillips
Christopher Phillips rated it it was amazing
Sep 28, 2011
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Walter Arnold Kaufmann was a German-American philosopher, translator, and poet. A prolific author, he wrote extensively on a broad range of subjects, such as authenticity and death, moral philosophy and existentialism, theism and atheism, Christianity and Judaism, as well as philosophy and literature. He served for over 30 years as a Professor at Princeton University.

He is renowned as a scholar an
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“Since the Renaissance, Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Mozart, and a host of others have shown that this religious dimension can be experienced and communicated apart from any religious context. But that is no reason for closing my heart to Job's cry, or to Jeremiah's, or to the Second Isaiah. I do not read them as mere literature; rather, I read Sophocles and Shakespeare with all my being, too.” 4 likes
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