A gentle scepticism with sympathy for theological yearnings
This entry in a confidently subtitled new series of short introductions is a light-footed scoot through theologies both ancient and (post)modern. Vernon, a philosopher and former priest, likes to demonstrate Greek sources of Christian ideas (Plotinus and Plato figure heavily), and to confound the Dawkinsites with ideas of God that do not conflict with science.
Combining a gentle scepticism with sympathy for theological yearnings, the author touches on those modern-science-approved Stoics, Spinoza, William James, Don Cupitt, "process theology", game theory, the techno-eschatology of the "singularity", and "apophatic theology", which says you can't talk about God at all – in our day, Vernon comments wryly, "such theology has, arguably, become unfashionable and even a source of annoyance". Particularly interesting is his chapter on the resurgence of Taoism in China, and its potential as an "ecotheology". This is a pleasingly ecumenical exercise, with an appendix on "10 films to see" that recommends The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Exorcist.