The Experience of God

Being, Consciousness, Bliss
Narrated by: Tom Pile
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: History, Religious
4.5 out of 5 stars (203 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Despite the recent ferocious public debate about belief, the concept most central to the discussion "God" frequently remains vaguely and obscurely described. Are those engaged in these arguments even talking about the same thing? In a wide-ranging response to this confusion, esteemed scholar David Bentley Hart pursues a clarification of how the word "God” functions in the world’s great theistic faiths. Ranging broadly across Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Vedantic and Bhaktic Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, Hart explores how these great intellectual traditions treat humanity’s knowledge of the divine mysteries. Constructing his argument around three principal metaphysical moments, ”being, consciousness, and bliss", the author demonstrates an essential continuity between our fundamental experience of reality and the ultimate reality to which that experience inevitably points. Thoroughly dismissing such blatant misconceptions as the deists' concept of God, as well as the fundamentalist view of the Bible as an objective historical record, Hart provides a welcome antidote to simplistic manifestoes. In doing so, he plumbs the depths of humanity’s experience of the world as powerful evidence for the reality of God and captures the beauty and poetry of traditional reflection upon the divine.

©2013 David Bentley Hart (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Experience of God

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The clearest thinking I have heard in ages.

A metaphysical masterpiece! "Atheism is too infantile and primitive to be considered a philosophy, it is much more like a therapy."

10 people found this helpful

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Basically made me believe in God

Shallow atheism is less attractive after hearing Aristotle's unmoved mover argument. That God is not a magician inside the world changed my view on Him.

4 people found this helpful

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A Tour de Force

Formidable, compelling, and masterfully written, this book aggressively confronts the dismal and sadly bankrupt worldview of mechanistic materialism in all its permutations. In the process it constructs a powerful and multifaceted case for God as the only truly convincing account of reality. This is a highly sophisticated and rigorous work -- a true joy to anyone who wishes to unpack the foundation of their faith and a devastating challenge to any atheist with the intellectual gifts to approach it. My one qualification is that it does not in fact do much to incorporate views of God from different faiths, despite its stated intention to do so. Other faiths are quoted at times, especially works from Sufi writers and from the Upanishads, but only in passing, used to add their affirmations to points already made. The issues are approached almost elusively from the perspective of Western assumptions and thought. That it does very, very well, though. I suppose it would be greedy to ask for more.

3 people found this helpful

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Good Book, but to Darn Tactical

I really wish there was a dumb down version of this book because I'm really not that smart, but iI can pick up on the principles of this book. A simple explanation would have been better.

2 people found this helpful

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A thorough walloping of materialism

While the new atheists play at philosophy and decorate their contentions with a dollop of pompous snark, David Bentley Hart dismembers them handily with serious philosophy and throws in a healthy amount of amusing snark well.

2 people found this helpful

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Recommend story and performance

Enlightening book, thoroughly study presented in a magisterial style, and preformed in an eloquent manner....in short best audiobook I have had the pleasure of listening to!

4 people found this helpful

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Transcendent

Stunning. A book I will listen to over and over again. Beyond being a brilliant work of philosophy, it also manages to touch the heart of spiritual experience. It illuminated so many intuitions I have had and organized them into a coherent whole.

1 person found this helpful

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Fresh Air in the God Topic

If you’re disillusioned with the God debates you might enjoy a fresh perspective. The author is clear to delineate an anthropomorphisized God from the “ground of all being”. Some, like myself, who were raised in Christian fundamentalism or evangelicalism will benefit from this book especially the last chapter. The chapters are long and can be arduous at times given the stringing together of similar thoughts and at times rapaciously refined rhetoric. All in all a big help to me in my recovery from an anthropomorphic theistic primitivism.

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CS Lewis on steroids

I think no one will ever accuse the polymath David Hart of “wearing his learning lightly.” He eschews the avuncular, amiable polemical style adopted by C.S. Lewis; he prefers the pugilistic style of someone like the late Christopher Hitchens. But he knows far more than Hitchens ever knew, both in scholarly depth and breadth; and he employs his mind, as did Lewis, to the vigorous presentation of an intellectually robust, classical theism—not merely a Christian theism, but one that he sees as shared by all of the major theistic traditions, both East and West. His willingness to incorporate Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and other non-Western conceptions of God will alarm traditional Christian theists, but his aim in this book is not to defend Christian theism; rather, his aim is to demolish the trivial, ignorant, and superficial conceptions of God that “the New Atheists” regularly invoke when they make their anti-theistic arguments. Although he has done this elsewhere, as for example in his equally satisfying demolition of “the New Atheist” view of Western church history in his book *Atheist Delusions*, this is Hart’s fullest response to the theological misunderstandings of Richard Dawkins, et. al. Overall, a very enjoyable book, though it is likely to be somewhat opaque to those who have not previously been exposed to philosophical thought about Being and non-being.

And I should add that Tom Pile’s reading of the book was fantastic. I was worried that whoever read this book would make a mess of it; but I came away thinking that the hubristic edge that often characterizes David Hart’s writing was considerably softened by Tom Pile’s reading, and the overall effect was probably that of improvement.

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Annoying and unfinished reading; Dense book.

This was a frustrating purchase, in that the audio seemed unfinished at times - repetitions, for instance, that were not edited out. The reader also had what was to me a terribly annoying habit of replacing "book" with "audiobook" in the text, even in key points of the author's argument. "The computer is no more conscious of the ideas in a program than the ink on the pages of this book are of the arguments therein" is changed to "the device playing this audiobook" - totally obscuring the analogy. A strange thing to do.

The book itself is a fascinating topic by a great mind, but I think in the end it was too dense for translation to an audiobook. Hard to follow the argument. And at times this really is the fault of Hart. Granted these are very esoteric and abstract concepts, but that's why we pay him the big bucks to write a book. He relies to much on stilted academic language, and I'm convinced he can do better.

5 people found this helpful

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  • line6dude
  • 03-13-18

A spectacular book!

If you could sum up The Experience of God in three words, what would they be?

David Bentley Hart lays out the classical definition of God, over and against some of the more modern misconceptions, promulgated by new atheists and some theists alike. His approach is informed by thousands of years of contemplative and rational philosophy spanning numerous religions, converging on 'The One', undivided, simple, purely actualised ground of all reality - God. The book is amusing, inspiring and challenging, highly recommend for anyone wanting a robust classical perspective on God.