In the midst of the XXI century, a technological and supposedly materialistic era, religious beliefs again are at the center of the ideological and political debate. They stir emotions, move the masses, exalt certain leaders and provoke terrorist attacks. They scandalize the advocates of pure and hard science; others instead consider some type of faith in the supernatural as indispensable in order to endure life and above all the certainty of death. In any case God is elbowing his way into the front stage of the world theater again. This book is about religion, or more pointedly religions: what does belief entail? In what do we believe or not believe? And what link do these beliefs have with the most important and central of all desires, the desire for immortality. The book also deals with the concept of truth, the difference between credulity and faith, non-dogmatic spiritual ways, political implications that fanatical orthodoxies have, the role of religious upbringing has in the education of secular democracies, etc... and also-perhaps above all-with how to live while facing the inevitable, without any concessions to panic or with excesses of hope. This is a brave book about the mirages and hopes in the beyond.
Translated by Anne Dewey
Authors > Fernando Savater
(San Sebastián, Spain, 1947). His first studies were at the Marianist school at the Cuesta de Aldapeta. When he was thirteen years old, his family moved to Madrid, where he finished high school at the school of El Pilar. He pursued a degree in Humanities, specializing in Philosophy at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, where would obtain later his Ph.D., after many academic squabbles, with a thesis about E.M. Cioran. In January 1969, during the state of emergency declared in Spain, he spent a month in the prison of Carabanchel. He was Assistant Professor of History of Philosophy at the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, position from which he was dismissed for political reasons. Late, he was Adjunct Professor of Ethics and Sociology at UNED and from 1980 he occupied the lectureship in Ethics at the University of País Vasco, at the Zorroaga campus in San Sebastián. In 1984 he was obtained the professorship of Ethics at the same university. In the early 90's he appointed professor of Philosophy at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, from where he has just retired.
He has written more than 50 works, between philosophical, political and literary essays, narrations and theatre. In 1982 he won the National Literature Prize (Spain), in the category of essay, with La tarea del héroe. His most famous works focus on making philosophy accessible for young people: Etica para Amador, Política para Amador, Las preguntas de la vida...all of these have been translated to more than twenty languages. He has recently published La vida eterna, an essay about religious belief nowadays. His latest novel, La hermandad de la buena suerte, has won the Planeta Novel Prize of 2008. Some of his articles have won important awards such as the Ortega y Gasset prize, the César González Ruano, the Julio Camba and the Cuco Cerecedo prize, given by the Association of European Journalists.
He has been awarded many Honoris Causa by universities in Spain, Europe and America, as well as diverse medals. Deeply involved in fighting against terrorism and in the defence of liberties threatened by ETA in the Basque Country, he is a member of the Civic Platform Basta Ya and currently of the new party Unión Progreso y Democracia.