Atheism and the Rejection of God: Contemporary Philosophy and The Brothers Karamazov by Stewart R Sutherland - review by Ronald Higgins

Ronald Higgins

Does Karamazov’s God Exist?

Atheism and the Rejection of God: Contemporary Philosophy and The Brothers Karamazov

By

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'What do you believe?' For most of us the question is embarrassing. Even the minority who subscribe to a particular faith, or denomination within one, find it difficult to distinguish between what they ought to believe and what, at root, they actually believe.

For the non-believer, perhaps, the question deserves to be more embarrassing than it usually appears to be. For conversational purposes he can usually get away with declaring himself only ... a non-believer. Yet in truth very few believe nothing. Nothing is a very difficult thing to believe in. Even those who deny the possibility of meaning, in the epistemological sense, to any metaphysical proposition tend in practice to have half-thought, half-felt notions about ultimate reality. There are indeed many kinds and levels of non-belief just as there are of belief.

Lively awareness of this fact is implicit throughout Stewart Sutherland's closely argued and often moving book. To explore the neglected problem of unbelief he focuses on the situation of the Karamazov brothers, especially of course Ivan's, in Dostoyevsky's extraordinary novel. And he brings to the task not only the three

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