The Intolerable God: Kant's Theological Journey

The Intolerable God: Kant's Theological Journey

The Intolerable God: Kant's Theological Journey

The Intolerable God: Kant's Theological Journey

Synopsis

The thought of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is often regarded as having caused a crisis for theology and religion because it sets the limits of knowledge to what can be derived from experience. In The Intolerable God Christopher Insole challenges that assumption and argues that Kant believed in God but struggled intensely with theological questions.
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Drawing on a new wave of Kant research and texts from all periods of Kant's thought -- including some texts not previously translated -- Insole recounts the drama of Kant's intellectual and theological journey. He focuses on Kant's lifelong concern with God, freedom, and happiness, relating these topics to Kant's theory of knowledge and his shifting views about what metaphysics can achieve.
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Though Kant was, in the end, unable to accept central claims of the Christian faith, Insole here shows that he earnestly wrestled with issues that are still deeply unsettling for believers and doubters alike.

Excerpt

This book is written for people who have an interest in theology and who have encountered the figure of Immanuel Kant, and who want to know more about his thought and significance.

It is difficult to know more about Immanuel Kant, for a number of reasons. His texts are difficult. Reading Kant can be initially confusing and demoralizing rather than illuminating. This problem is compounded by the fact that Kant’s thought is a system with many facets. Simply reading one text in isolation can lead to a distorted impression of what is going on, even in that text itself. the literature on Kant is also difficult, as well as being vast, and rapidly expanding, with seemingly irreconcilable fundamental perspectives on Kant’s intentions, significance, and meaning. Excellent introductions to Kant’s general philosophy do exist. There are also commendable introductions to Kant’s philosophy of religion. But these treatments do not have as a central focus Kant’s lifelong concern with God, freedom, and happiness, from his earliest thought to his dying days. These themes are likely to be of the greatest interest to the theologically engaged. Furthermore, I relate these topics to Kant’s theory of knowledge, and to his shifting views about what metaphysics can achieve. in the course of doing this, I draw deeply, but with a light touch, upon a new wave of

1. These include, for example, Andrew Ward, Kant: the Three Critiques (London: Polity, 2006); Allen W. Wood, Kant (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2004); and Roger Scruton, Kant, Past Masters (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), followed by his Kant: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993; revised 2001).

2. Lawrence R. Pasternack, Kant on Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2014); Pamela Sue Anderson and Jordan Bell, Kant and Theology (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2010).

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