M. M. Yadlapati, Against Dogmatism: Dwelling in Faith and Doubt.
Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013. Pp. x, 204. Pb. Â£12.99.
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
Yadlapatiâ€™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 â€˜Beyond Fundamentalism and
Atheismâ€™, 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 â€˜Re-examining Faith
in Actionâ€™, 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