The Critical Shaw: On Religion
“The real difficulty about the Bible in America is that, though nobody reads it, everybody imagines he knows what is in it.” —Bernard Shaw, 1925
Critical Shaw: Religion is a comprehensive selection of renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw’s pronouncements—many of them deliberately inflammatory—on all facets of religion and belief: on Christianity and the Church; on various religions, among them Protestantism, Catholicism, Quakerism, Christian Science, Fundamentalism, Calvinism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam; on atheism and agnosticism, atonement and salvation; on the crucifixion, the resurrection, transubstantiation, and the Immaculate Conception; on the Bible, the Ten Commandments, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church. And much more. In speeches, essays, and prefaces, Shaw relentlessly scrutinized and critiqued scores of religions—only to find most of their doctrines in need of exhaustive reform. And yet, in keeping with his many other paradoxes, though Shaw was fond of calling himself an atheist, he nonetheless recognized the importance, indeed the necessity, of religion.
The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw’s voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw’s life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.