Modern Believing


Modern Believing (2016), 57, (3), 281–323.


BOOK REVIEWS M. M. Yadlapati, Against Dogmatism: Dwelling in Faith and Doubt. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013. Pp. x, 204. Pb. £12.99. ISBN 978-0-252-07945-0. Regular readers of Modern Believing will be aware of a steady stream of books on doubt in relation to religion and faith (Val Webb, In Defence of Doubt [Mosaic Press, 2012], reviewed in July 2015; Guy Collins, Faithful Doubt [Cascade Books, 2014], reviewed in October 2015). One reason for this must be an urge to counter fideism and fundamentalism which dominate what is said and written about religion in much of the mass media and in some philosophical theology. But there is also an incentive to counter the theological illiteracy of new atheists who project on to all religious believers a form of dogmatic credulity which many (the majority?) do not recognise as pertaining to them. Certainly Madhuri Yadlapati’s book is motivated by a desire to counter these trends, even if her chosen methodology needs to be complemented by other less idiosyncratic versions of the argument in order to settle the case. After a very clear introduction entitled ‘Beyond Fundamentalism and Atheism’, Yadlapati proceeds to explore some key theological themes through the prism of faith experiences in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Protestant Christianity. It is the latter which she subjects to closest scrutiny, principally through the writings of Barth, Tillich, Kierkegaard, Schleiermacher, Moltmann, Caputo and C. S. Lewis. The book is in three parts. The first is entitled ‘Re-examining Faith in Action’, and focuses on trust and humility as key concepts in world religion, and on our social responsibility in the world as a trans-faith commitment. These themes are singled out for consideration because they rely not on dogmatic credal statements but on human experiences which constitute the essence of faith and which can be expressed (when it comes to humility and trust) as a feeling of absolute dependence Modern Believing 57.3 2016 doi:10.3828/mb.2016.21

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Author details

Saxbee, John

Regan, Ethna

Brierley, Michael

Pattison, George

Reader, John

Pailing, Rowena

Lancaster, Sarah Heaner

Wilson, Kenneth

Pope, Robert

Wondra, Ellen K.

Percy, Martyn

Reed, Esther

Bookless, Dave

Ryan, Ben

Morgan, Teresa

Byrne, Georgina

Boyce-Tillman, June

Arnold, Jonathan

Maslen, Elizabeth