This book advances the ‘strong’ programme that sociology and anthropology provide a scientific foundation for arguing that God and the gods are human creations. Contending that religion is one - but not the only - way to systematize and institutionalize the moral order of a society, the author argues that religion reflects the fundamental human need for belonging and the social function of compassion. As such, our transcendental and supernatural ideas are really concerned with our everyday lives in communities and, faced with the severity and immediacy of the global problems with which the world is confronted - existential threats - it is increasingly important to abandon delusions and correct our mistake in reference, not by eradicating religion, but by grounding it more explicitly in earthly matters of community, social solidarity, belonging and compassion. A wide-ranging study of the roots, nature and purpose of religion and theistic belief, Society and the Death of God will appeal to sociologists, social theorists and philosophers with interests in the scientific study of religion and the role of religion in the life of humankind.
Table of Contents
1. Some Initial Provocations in Words and Numbers
2. Genesis: Introduction to the Book of God
3. To Tell the Truth
4. Foundations for a Critical Sociology of Religions and the Gods
5. Assume the Position: God Proofs
6. Evidence Redux
7. The End of God and the Beginning of Inquiry
8. The Last Chapter of God
9. Personal Quest Redux, Summary, and Review*
10. Reading Hans Küng: Does God Exist? The Last Chapter of Theology
Sal Restivo is former Professor of Sociology, Science Studies, and Information Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA; former Senior Fellow at the Center for Intercultural Communication and Interaction, University of Ghent, Belgium, and former Adjunct Professor of Technology, Culture, and Society, New York University, USA. A founding member and former president of the Society for Social Studies of Science, he is the editor of Science, Technology and Society: An Encyclopedia, the author of Red, Black, and Objective: Science, Sociology, and Anarchism; Science, Society and Values; and The Sociological Worldview, and co-author of Asphalt Children and City Streets and Worlds of ScienceCraft: New Horizons in Sociology, Philosophy, and Science Studies.