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Luigi Giussani, a high school religion teacher throughout the 1950s and 1960s, grounded his teachings in the vast body of experience to be found in Christianity's two-thousand-year history. He told his students, "I'm not here to make you adopt the ideas I will give you as your own, but to teach you a method for judging the things I will say." Throughout his life, education was one of Giussani's primary intellectual interests. He believed that effective education required an adequate background in the Christian tradition, presented within a lived experience that underscored the capacity of the faith to answer universal questions. What he proposed was a process that allowed one to sift through tradition, critically examining it and comparing it against the ultimate criteria for judgment: the desires of the heart. In Giussani's view, the primary concern was to "educate the human heart as God made it." In The Risk of Education he states that fear leads students to associate this process of criticism with negativity or doubt. Yet, without an education in criticism, students cannot develop conviction. At a time when young people are abandoning the church and questioning the value of faith, Giussani's method of judging and verifying Christianity as an experience seems a necessary intervention. In The Risk of Education he argues that, ultimately, education and the Christian message reveal themselves through human freedom.
The modern notion of tolerance--the welcoming of diversity as a force for the common good--emerged in the Enlightenment in the wake of centuries of religious wars. First elaborated by philosophers such as John Locke and Voltaire, religious tolerance gradually gained ground in Europe and North America. But with the resurgence of fanaticism and terrorism, religious tolerance is increasingly being challenged by frightened publics. In this book, Denis Lacorne traces the emergence of the modern notion of religious tolerance in order to rethink how we should respond to its contemporary tensions. In a wide-ranging argument that spans the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian republic, and recent controversies such as France's burqa ban and the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, The Limits of Tolerance probes crucial questions: Should we impose limits on freedom of expression in the name of human dignity or decency? Should we accept religious symbols in the public square? Can we tolerate the intolerant? While acknowledging that tolerance can never be entirely without limits, Lacorne defends the Enlightenment concept against recent attempts to circumscribe it, arguing that without it a pluralistic society cannot survive. Awarded the Prix Montyon by the Acad mie Fran aise, The Limits of Tolerance is a powerful reflection on twenty-first-century democracy's most fundamental challenges.
In this book, Omar Farahat presents a new way of understanding the work of classical Islamic theologians and legal theorists who maintained that divine revelation is necessary for the knowledge of the norms and values of human actions. Through a reconstruction of classical Ash'ari-Mu'tazili debates on the nature and implications of divine speech, Farahat argues that the Ash'ari attachment to revelation was not a purely traditionalist position. Rather, it was a rational philosophical commitment emerging from debates in epistemology and theology. He further argues that the particularity of this model makes its distinctive features helpful for contemporary scholars who defend a form of divine command theory. Farahat's volume thus constitutes a new reading of the issue of reason and revelation in Islam and breaks new ground in Islamic theology, law and ethics.
In a work that casts philosophical and theological reflections against a backdrop of personal experience, Leon Wiener Dow offers a learned discourse that elucidates the telos of Jewish law and the philosophical-theological commitments that animate it. To the reader gazing upon the halakha from the outside, this book offers a glimpse of its central, orienting concepts. To the reader who lives amidst the rigor of halakha, this book bestows an insightful glance at the law's orienting ethos and higher aspirations that often remain opaque.
Philosophy and Christianity make truth claims about many of the same things. They both claim to provide answers to the deep questions of life. But how are they related to one another? Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy introduces readers to four predominant views on the relationship between philosophy and the Christian faith and their implications for life. Each author identifies the propositional relation between philosophy and Christianity along with a section devoted to the implications for living a life devoted to the pursuit of wisdom. The contributors and views include: Graham Oppy-Conflict: Philosophy Trumps Christianity K. Scott Oliphint-Covenant: Christianity Trumps Philosophy Timothy McGrew-Convergence: Philosophy Confirms Christianity Paul Moser-Conformation: Philosophy Reconceived Under Christianity General editors Paul M. Gould and Richard Davis explain the background to the discussion and provide some historical background in the introduction, as well as helpful summaries of each position in the conclusion. In the reader-friendly Counterpoints format, this book helps readers to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of each view and draw informed conclusions in this much-debated topic.
Atheism: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to belief in the non-existence of deities. Atheism has long fascinated people but debate around this controversial position may seem daunting. In this lively and lucid book, Graham Oppy addresses the following important questions: * What does it mean to be an atheist? * What is the difference between atheism, agnosticism, theism and innocence? * How has atheism been distributed over time and place? * What does science tell us about atheism? * Are there good reasons to be an atheist? * Are there good reasons not to be an atheist? * What do we mean by `new atheism'? With a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading throughout, the book considers key philosophical arguments around atheism, making this an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a full introduction to the arguments between those who hold atheistic beliefs and those who do not.
One of Soren Kierkegaard's most important writings, Works of Love is a profound examination of the human heart, in which the great philosopher conducts the reader into the inmost secrets of Love. "Deep within every man," Kierkegaard writes, "there lies the dread of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the household of millions upon millions." Love, for Kierkegaard, is one of the central aspects of existence; it saves us from isolation and unites us with one another and with God. This new edition of Works of Love features an original foreword by Kierkegaard scholar George Pattison.
Rabbi Blue has written this book to satisfy a need, especially among young people. Post Dawkins, how can intelligent people believe, with their hearts, their minds and their souls? Learning from problems posed by his audiences and his listeners, he attempts to map out how we can fit common honesty and higher truths together. The issues he considers are much simpler than issues in Churches or Synagogues. There are many reasons for starting out on this journey - a broken love affair, being stood up, seeing the good and recognising that it is beautiful, curing your own loneliness, trying to believe you matter, coming to terms with growing old, coping with addiction. As the Rabbi says of himself, 'I went in to religion because I was in trouble. I stayed in it because it works'. This is a consumer's guide to religion. It is eclectic in its range but the conclusion is that, in spite of the pain and the effort, religion works!
In his famous Wager, Blaise Pascal (1623-62) offers the reader an argument that it is rational to strive to believe in God. Philosophical debates about this classic argument have continued until our own times. This volume provides a comprehensive examination of Pascal's Wager, including its theological framework, its place in the history of philosophy, and its importance to contemporary decision theory. The volume starts with a valuable primer on infinity and decision theory for students and non-specialists. A sequence of chapters then examines topics including the Wager's underlying theology, its influence on later philosophical figures, and contemporary analyses of the Wager including Alan Hajek's challenge to its validity, the many gods objection, and the ethics of belief. The final five chapters explore various ways in which the Wager has inspired contemporary decision theory, including questions related to infinite utility, imprecise probabilities, and infinitesimals.
"My road to atheism was paved by science... but, ironically, so was my later journey to God." Former atheist Lee Strobel has discovered that science, far from being the enemy of faith, now provides a solid foundation for belief in God. New scientific discoveries point to the incredible complexity of our universe, a complexity best explained by the existence of a Creator. This revised six-session study (DVD/digital video) invites participants to encounter this evidence delivered in a compelling conversational style. Join Strobel in reexamining the theories that once led him away from God. Pastors, small group leaders, and individuals seeking resources that answer tough questions about the existence of God will find compelling answers in the Case for a Creator study. Sessions include: Science and God Doubts about Darwinism The Evidence of Cosmology The Fine-tuning of the Universe The Evidence of Biochemistry The DNA and the Origin of Life Designed for use with the Case for a Creator Revised Video Study 9780310699606 (sold separately).
Sovereignty and the Sacred challenges contemporary models of polity and economy through a two-step engagement with the history of religions. Beginning with the recognition of the convergence in the history of European political theology between the sacred and the sovereign as creating "states of exception"--that is, moments of rupture in the normative order that, by transcending this order, are capable of re-founding or remaking it--Robert A. Yelle identifies our secular, capitalist system as an attempt to exclude such moments by subordinating them to the calculability of laws and markets. The second step marshals evidence from history and anthropology that helps us to recognize the contribution of such states of exception to ethical life, as a means of release from the legal or economic order. Yelle draws on evidence from the Hebrew Bible to English deism, and from the Aztecs to ancient India, to develop a theory of polity that finds a place and a purpose for those aspects of religion that are often marginalized and dismissed as irrational by Enlightenment liberalism and utilitarianism. Developing this close analogy between two elemental domains of society, Sovereignty and the Sacred offers a new theory of religion while suggesting alternative ways of organizing our political and economic life. By rethinking the transcendent foundations and liberating potential of both religion and politics, Yelle points to more hopeful and ethical modes of collective life based on egalitarianism and popular sovereignty. Deliberately countering the narrowness of currently dominant economic, political, and legal theories, he demonstrates the potential of a revived history of religions to contribute to a rethinking of the foundations of our political and social order.
New observations on the persistence of God in modern times and why "authentic" atheism is so very hard to come by How to live in a supposedly faithless world threatened by religious fundamentalism? Terry Eagleton, formidable thinker and renowned cultural critic, investigates in this thought-provoking book the contradictions, difficulties, and significance of the modern search for a replacement for God. Engaging with a phenomenally wide range of ideas, issues, and thinkers from the Enlightenment to today, Eagleton discusses the state of religion before and after 9/11, the ironies surrounding Western capitalism's part in spawning not only secularism but also fundamentalism, and the unsatisfactory surrogates for the Almighty invented in the post-Enlightenment era. The author reflects on the unique capacities of religion, the possibilities of culture and art as modern paths to salvation, the so-called war on terror's impact on atheism, and a host of other topics of concern to those who envision a future in which just and compassionate communities thrive. Lucid, stylish, and entertaining in his usual manner, Eagleton presents a brilliant survey of modern thought that also serves as a timely, urgently needed intervention into our perilous political present.
We typically think we have free will. But how could we have free will, if for anything we do, it was already true in the distant past that we would do that thing? Or how could we have free will, if God already knows in advance all the details of our lives? Such issues raise the specter of "fatalism". This book collects sixteen previously published articles on fatalism, truths about the future, and the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, and includes a substantial introductory essay and bibliography. Many of the pieces collected here build bridges between discussions of human freedom and recent developments in other areas of metaphysics, such as philosophy of time. Ideal for courses in free will, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion, Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge will encourage important new directions in thinking about free will, time, and truth.
John Hick was one of the twentieth century's most influential and creative philosophers of religion. In this book, Sinkinson charts the development of Hick's thinking over his life and how this shaped his engagement with world religions. Attention is paid to Hick's epistemology and how this was key in his interpretation of both his own religion and the phenomena of religious pluralism. It can be shown that the development of Hick's thought is the legacy of the liberal theology of the Enlightenment. The project, begun by Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schleiermacher, is shown to find clear expression in the developed theology of religions proposed by Hick. The book includes a survey of his important books and a transcript of the last recorded radio dialogue that Hick had with an evangelical theologian.
The most comprehensive text in its field, this anthology includes 74 articles in 9 areas of philosophy of religion: The Concept of God; Traditional Arguments for the Existence of God; Religious Experience; The Problem of Evil; Miracles, Death and Immortality; Faith and Reason; Science, Religion, and Evolution; and Religious Pluralism. The arrangement of the articles and the introductions which accompany them help place the readings in their historical or contemporary context, and ensure that you encounter a spectrum of viewpoints.
A revisionist account of Zionist history, challenging the inevitability of a one-state solution, from a bold, path-breaking young scholar The Jewish nation-state has often been thought of as Zionism's end goal. In this bracing history of the idea of the Jewish state in modern Zionism, from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century until the establishment of the state of Israel, Dmitry Shumsky challenges this deeply rooted assumption. In doing so, he complicates the narrative of the Zionist quest for full sovereignty, provocatively showing how and why the leaders of the prestate Zionist movement imagined, articulated, and promoted theories of self-determination in Palestine either as part of a multinational Ottoman state (1882-1917), or in the framework of multinational democracy. In particular, Shumsky focuses on the writings and policies of five key Zionist leaders from the Habsburg and Russian empires in central and eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries-Leon Pinsker, Theodor Herzl, Ahad Ha'am, Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky, and David Ben-Gurion-to offer a very pointed critique of Zionist historiography.
This book--the first full-length study of the "last and most beautiful" apology against paganism, Theodoret's "Therapeutic for Hellenic Maladies"--combines close readings of the text with detailed analysis of Theodoret's arguments against Greek religion, philosophy, and culture and the ways in which that Greek influence interacts with other diverse ideas, practices, and developments in the fifth-century Roman empire.
The book's larger underlying themes--the continuing debate between Christianity and Hellenism, and the relationship between classical and Christian literature--offer insights into more general late Roman and early Byzantine religious and cultural attitudes and issues, including the relations between pagan and Christian "paideia, "the cult of the martyrs, and the role of Christianity in the Roman empire.
To the surprise of many readers, Jurgen Habermas has recently made religion a major theme of his work. Emphasizing both religion's prominence in the contemporary public sphere and its potential contributions to critical thought, Habermas's engagement with religion has been controversial and exciting, putting much of his own work in fresh perspective and engaging key themes in philosophy, politics and social theory. Habermas argues that the once widely accepted hypothesis of progressive secularization fails to account for the multiple trajectories of modernization in the contemporary world. He calls attention to the contemporary significance of "postmetaphysical" thought and "postsecular" consciousness - even in Western societies that have embraced a rationalistic understanding of public reason. "Habermas and Religion "presents a series of original and sustained engagements with Habermas's writing on religion in the public sphere, featuring new work and critical reflections from leading philosophers, social and political theorists, and anthropologists. Contributors to the volume respond both to Habermas's ambitious and well-developed philosophical project and to his most recent work on religion. The book closes with an extended response from Habermas - itself a major statement from one of today's most important thinkers.
In Living Mirrors, Ohad Nachtomy examines Leibniz's attempt to "re-enchant" the natural world-that is, to infuse life, purpose, and value into the very foundations of nature, a nature that Leibniz saw as disenchanted by Descartes' and Spinoza's more naturalistic and mechanistic theories. Nachtomy sees Leibniz's nuanced view of infinity- how it differs in the divine as well as human spheres, and its relationship to numerical and metaphysical unity-as key in this effort. Leibniz defined living beings by means of an infinite nested structure particular to what he called "natural machines"-and for him, an intermediate kind of infinity is the defining feature of living beings. Using a metaphor of a "living mirror," Leibniz put forth infinity as crucial to explaining the unity of a living being as well as the harmony between the infinitely small and the infinitely large; in this way, employing infinity and unity, we can better understand life itself, both as a metaphysical principle and as an empirical fact. Nachtomy's sophisticated and novel treatment of the essential themes in Leibniz's work will not only interest Leibniz scholars, but scholars of early modern philosophy and students of the history of philosophy and science as well.
An inspired gathering of religious writings that reveals the "divine reality" common to all faiths, collected by Aldous Huxley
"The Perennial Philosophy," Aldous Huxley writes, "may be found among the traditional lore of peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions."
With great wit and stunning intellect--drawing on a diverse array of faiths, including Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, and Islam--Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains how they are united by a common human yearning to experience the divine. "The Perennial Philosophy" includes selections from Meister Eckhart, Rumi, and Lao Tzu, as well as the Bhagavad Gita, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Diamond Sutra, and Upanishads, among many others.
Religion and the Philosophy of Life considers how religion as the source of civilization transforms the fundamental bio-sociology of humans through language and the somatic exploration of religious ritual and prayer. Gavin Flood offers an integrative account of the nature of the human, based on what contemporary scientists tell us, especially evolutionary science and social neuroscience, as well as through the history of civilizations. Part one contemplates fundamental questions and assumptions: what the current state of knowledge is concerning life itself; what the philosophical issues are in that understanding; and how we can explain religion as the driving force of civilizations in the context of human development within an evolutionary perspective. It also addresses the question of the emergence of religion and presents a related study of sacrifice as fundamental to religions' views about life and its transformation. Part two offers a reading of religions in three civilizational blocks-India, China, and Europe/the Middle East-particularly as they came to formation in the medieval period. It traces the history of how these civilizations have thematised the idea of life itself. Part three then takes up the idea of a life force in part three and traces the theme of the philosophy of life through to modern times. On the one hand, the book presents a narrative account of life itself through the history of civilizations, and on the other presents an explanation of that narrative in terms of life.
In Breaking the Spell Daniel C. Dennett explores how the great ideas of religion have enthralled us for thousands of years - and whether we could (or should) break free. What is religion and how did it evolve? Is it the product of blind evolutionary instinct or of rational choice? Is the only way to live a good life through religion? Few forces in the world are as potent as religion: it comforts people in their suffering and inspires them to both magnificent and terrible deeds. In this provocative and timely book, Daniel C. Dennett seeks to uncover the origins of religion and discusses how and why different faiths have shaped so many lives, whether religion is an addiction or a genuine human need, and even whether it is good for our health. Arguing passionately for the need to understand this multifaceted phenomenon, Breaking the Spell offers a truly original - and comprehensive - explanation for faith. 'Packed with a mass of intriguing detail and anecdote ... witty and clear prose' Observer 'He's the "good cop" among religion's critics (Richard Dawkins is the "bad cop"), but he still makes people angry' New Statesman 'Dennett writes with brio and humour' Telegraph 'Elegant, sharp-minded ... clear-eyed but courteous' Economist Daniel Dennett is one of the most original and provocative thinkers in the world. A brilliant polemicist and philosopher, he is famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies, and an outspoken supporter of the Brights movement. His books include Brainstorms, Brainchildren, Elbow Room, Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Freedom Evolves.
Jay Rosenberg's penetrating and persuasively argued analysis of the central metaphysical and moral questions pertaining to death has been updated and revised to expand and deepen several of its key arguments and to address conceptual developments of the past fifteen years. Among the topics discussed are: Life After Death; The Limits of Theorizing; The Limits of Imagination; Death and Personhood Values and Rights; 'Mercy Killing'; Prolonging Life; 'Rational Suicide' and One's Own Death. Rosenberg's prose is lucid, lively, thoroughly absorbing, and accessible to introductory-level readers. Essential reading for anyone interested in reflecting on this engaging topic. Jay F. Rosenberg is Taylor Grandy Professor of Philosophy, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The debate between science and religion is never out of the news: emotions run high, fuelled by polemical bestsellers like The God Delusion and, at the other end of the spectrum, high-profile campaigns to teach 'Intelligent Design' in schools. Yet there is much more to the debate than the clash of these extremes. As Thomas Dixon shows in this balanced and thought-provoking introduction, many have seen harmony rather than conflict between faith and science. He explores not only the key philosophical questions that underlie the debate, but also the social, political, and ethical contexts that have made 'science and religion' such a fraught and interesting topic in the modern world, offering perspectives from non-Christian religions and examples from across the physical, biological, and social sciences.. Along the way, he examines landmark historical episodes such as the trial of Galileo by the Inquisition in 1633, and the famous debate between 'Darwin's bulldog' Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce in Oxford in 1860. The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' in Tennessee in 1925 and the Dover Area School Board case of 2005 are explained with reference to the interaction between religion, law, and education in modern America. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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