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What is the philosophy of religion? How can we distinguish it from theology on the one hand and the psychology/sociology of religious belief on the other? What does it mean to describe God as 'eternal'? And should religious people want there to be good arguments for the existence of God, or is religious belief only authentic in the absence of these good arguments? In this Very Short Introduction Tim Bayne introduces the field of philosophy of religion, and engages with some of the most burning questions that philosophers discuss. Considering how 'religion' should be defined, and whether we even need to be able to define it in order to engage in the philosophy of religion, he goes on to discuss whether the existence of God matters. Exploring the problem of evil, Bayne also debates the connection between faith and reason, and the related question of what role reason should play in religious contexts. Shedding light on the relationship between science and religion, Bayne finishes by considering the topics of reincarnation and the afterlife. 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.
One of the classics of modern spirituality, Encounters with Silence is one of Karl Rahner's most lucid and powerful books. A book of meditations about man's relation with God, it is not a work of dry theology, but rather a book of prayerful reflections on love, knowledge, and faith, obedience, everyday routines, life with our friends and neighbors, our work and vocation, and human goodness. The immense success of this moving work is a tribute to its practicality and the ability of the great theologian to speak simply and yet profoundly to ordinary men and women seeking an inspiring guide to the inner life, one that never forsakes the world of reality. The book is cast in the form of a dialogue with God that moves from humble but concerned inquiry to joyful contemplation.
In the views of most believers and critics, religion is essentially connected to the existence of a supernatural deity. If supernaturalism is not reasonable, the argument goes, religion cannot be reasonable-or if supernaturalism is reasonable, religion must be as well. Are faith and reason, religion and science, doomed to a constant struggle for the heart of humanity? Steven M. Cahn believes that they are not, that even if God exists, religion may not be justified and that even if religion is justified, belief in God may not be. In Religion Within Reason, Cahn argues that the common understanding of the relationship between religion and supernaturalism is flawed and that while supernaturalism is not reasonable, religious commitment may well be. Writing not as a theist but as one who finds much to admire in a religious life, he examines faith and reason, miracles, heaven and hell, religious diversity, and the problem of evil, using a variety of examples taken from religious thought, literature, and popular culture. Lucidly written in a nonpolemical spirit, Religion Within Reason offers an exciting new approach to the reconciliation of science and religion.
On the one hundredth anniversary of the death of William James, Robert Richardson, author of the magisterial William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism, assembles a wide-ranging selection of essays and writings that reveal the evolution of James's thought over time, especially as it was continually being shaped by the converging influences of psychology, philosophy, and religion throughout his life. Proceeding chronologically, the volume begins with "What Is an Emotion," James's early, notable, and still controversial argument that many of our emotions follow from (rather than cause) physical or physiological reactions. The book concludes with "The Moral Equivalent of War," one of the greatest anti-war pieces ever written, perhaps even more relevant now than when it was first published. In between, in essays on "The Dilemma of Determinism," "The Hidden Self," "Habit," and "The Will"; in chapters from The Principles of Psychology and The Varieties of Religious Experience; and in such pieces as "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings," "What Makes a Life Significant," and "Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results," we witness the evolution of James's philosophical thinking, his pragmatism, and his radical empiricism. Throughout, Richardson's deeply informed introductions place James's work in its proper biographical, historical, and philosophical context. In essay after essay, James calls us to live a fuller, richer, better life, to seek out and use our best energies and sympathies. As every day is the day of creation and judgment, so every age was once the new age-and as this book makes abundantly clear, William James's writings are still the gateway to many a new world.
Luigi Gioia provides a fresh description and analysis of Augustine's monumental treatise, De Trinitate, working on a supposition of its unity and its coherence from structural, rhetorical, and theological points of view. The main arguments of the treatise are reviewed first: Scripture and the mystery of the Trinity; discussion of 'Arian' logical and ontological categories; a comparison between the process of knowledge and formal aspects of the confession of the mystery of the Trinity; an account of the so called 'psychological analogies'. These topics hold a predominantly instructive or polemical function. The unity and the coherence of the treatise become apparent especially when its description focuses on a truly theological understanding of knowledge of God: Augustine aims at leading the reader to the vision and enjoyment of God the Trinity, in whose image we are created. This mystagogical aspect of the rhetoric of De Trinitate is unfolded through Christology, soteriology, doctrine of the Holy Spirit and doctrine of revelation. At the same time, from the vantage point of love, Augustine detects and powerfully depicts the epistemological consequences of human sinfulness, thus unmasking the fundamental deficiency of received theories of knowledge. Only love restores knowledge and enables philosophers to yield to the injunction which resumes philosophical enterprise as a whole, namely 'know thyself'.
Over a span of thirty years, twentieth-century French philosophers Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida held a conversation across texts. Sharing a Jewish heritage and a background in phenomenology, both came to situate their work at the margins of philosophy, articulating this placement through religion and literature. Chronicling the interactions between these thinkers, Sarah Hammerschlag argues that the stakes in their respective positions were more than philosophical. They were also political. Levinas's investments were born out in his writings on Judaism and ultimately in an evolving conviction that the young state of Israel held the best possibility for achieving such an ideal. For Derrida, the Jewish question was literary. The stakes of Jewish survival could only be approached through reflections on modern literature's religious legacy, a line of thinking that provided him the means to reconceive democracy. Hammerschlag's reexamination of Derrida and Levinas's textual exchange not only produces a new account of this friendship but also has significant ramifications for debates within Continental philosophy, the study of religion, and political theology.
In this wide-ranging book, Rowan Williams argues that what we say about Jesus Christ is key to understanding what Christian belief says about creator and creation overall. Through detailed discussion of texts from the earliest centuries to the present day, we are shown some of the various and subtle ways in which Christians have discovered in their reflections on Christ the possibility of a deeply affirmative approach to creation, and a set of radical insights in ethics and politics as well. Throughout his life, Rowan Williams has been deeply influenced by thinkers of the Eastern Christian tradition as well as Catholic and Anglican writers. This book draws on insights from Eastern Christianity, from the Western Middle Ages and from Reformed thinkers, from Calvin to Bonhoeffer - as well as considering theological insights sparked by philosophers like Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein. Christ the Heart of Creation concerns fundamental issues for Christian belief and Williams tackles them head-on: he writes with pellucid clarity and shows his gift for putting across what are inevitably complex ideas to a wide audience.
A window into the Jewish understanding of God throughout
In Jewish Scripture Christianity's foundation God's presence is everywhere: in nature, in history, and in the range of human experience. Yet the Torah, Maimonides, and 4,000 years of Jewish tradition all agree on one thing: that God is beyond any form of human comprehension. How, then can Judaism be so crowded with descriptions and images of God? And what can they mean to the ways Christians understand their own faith?
In this special book, Rabbi Neil Gillman guides you through these questions and the countless different ways the Jewish people have related to God, how each originated and what each may mean for you. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or even Jewish, this nuts-and-bolts introduction will both answer your questions and stimulate new ones.
A theologian who writes as a great teacher, Gillman addresses the key concepts at the heart of Judaism s approach to God. From Ein Sof (Infinity) to Shekhinah (Presence), Gillman helps you understand what the search for knowing God itself says about Jewish tradition and how you can use the fundamentals of Judaism to strengthen, explore, and deepen your own spiritual foundations. God Is Echad (Unique) God Is Power God Is Person God Is Nice Sometimes God Is Not Nice Sometimes God Can Change God Creates God Reveals God Redeems
SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'A highly readable, fascinating book that jerks the debate on religion versus atheism right out of its crusted rut into the light of serious intellectual scrutiny' Observer A meditation on the importance of atheism in the modern world - and its inadequacies and contradictions - by one of Britain's leading philosophers 'When you explore older atheisms, you will find some of your firmest convictions - secular or religious - are highly questionable. If this prospect disturbs you, what you are looking for may be freedom from thought.' For a generation now, public debate has been corroded by a narrow derision of religion in the name of an often very vaguely understood 'science'. John Gray's stimulating and extremely enjoyable new book describes the rich, complex world of the atheist tradition, a tradition which he sees as in many ways as rich as that of religion itself, as well as being deeply intertwined with what is so often crudely viewed as its 'opposite'. The result is a book that sheds an extraordinary and varied light on what it is to be human and on the thinkers who have, at different times and places, battled to understand this issue.
In Archive Fever, Jacques Derrida deftly guides us through an extended meditation on remembrance, religion, time, and technology--fruitfully occasioned by a deconstructive analysis of the notion of archiving. Intrigued by the evocative relationship between technologies of inscription and psychic processes, Derrida offers for the first time a major statement on the pervasive impact of electronic media, particularly e-mail, which threaten to transform the entire public and private space of humanity. Plying this rich material with characteristic virtuosity, Derrida constructs a synergistic reading of archives and archiving, both provocative and compelling. "Judaic mythos, Freudian psychoanalysis, and e-mail all get fused into another staggeringly dense, brilliant slab of scholarship and suggestion."--The Guardian "[Derrida] convincingly argues that, although the archive is a public entity, it nevertheless is the repository of the private and personal, including even intimate details."--Choice "Beautifully written and clear."--Jeremy Barris, Philosophy in Review "Translator Prenowitz has managed valiantly to bring into English a difficult but inspiring text that relies on Greek, German, and their translations into French."--Library Journal
First Published in 1986. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Expanding on a concept from New York Times bestseller The God Delusion, former ordained minister and current atheist Dan Barker gives us a biblical play-by-play illustrating God's not-so-admirable qualities. What words come to mind when we think of God? Merciful? Just? Compassionate? In fact, the Bible lays out God's primary qualities clearly: jealous, petty, unforgiving, bloodthirsty, vindictive--and worse! Originally conceived as a joint presentation between influential thinker and bestselling author Richard Dawkins and former evangelical preacher Dan Barker, this unique book provides an investigation into what may be the most unpleasant character in all fiction. Barker combs through both the Old and New Testament (as well as 13 different editions of the "Good Book"), presenting powerful evidence for why the Scripture shouldn't govern our everyday lives. This witty, well-researched book suggests that we should move past the Bible and clear a path to a kinder and more thoughtful world.
Towards the end of her life, the French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil (1909-43) was working on a tragedy, Venice Saved. Appearing here in English for the first time, this play explores the realisation of Weil's own thoughts on tragedy. A figure of affliction, a central theme in Weil's religious metaphysics, the central character offers a unique insight into Weil's broader philosophical interest in truth and justice, and provides a fresh perspective on the wider conception of tragedy itself. The play depicts the plot by a group of Spanish mercenaries to sack Venice in 1618 and how it fails when one conspirator, Jaffier, betrays them to the Venetian authorities, because he feels compassion for the city's beauty. The edition includes notes on the play by the translators as well as introductory material on: the life of Weil; the genesis and purport of the play; Weil and the tragic; the issues raised by translating Venice Saved. With additional suggestions for further reading, the volume opens up an area of interest and research: the literary Weil.
Augusto Del Noce is widely considered one of Italy's foremost philosophers and political thinkers in the second half of the twentieth century. He is also remembered as an original and profound cultural critic, and in particular as a great scholar of the process of secularization that took place in the West during the 1960s. A collection of eleven essays and lectures by Del Noce that originally appeared between 1964 and 1969, and which the author published as a book in 1971, The Age of Secularization quickly became recognized as one of the most original and penetrating attempts to interpret the cultural and political turmoil of the period. In its pages Del Noce discusses, among other topics, the student protests of 1968, the counterculture of the 1960s, the significance of the sexual revolution, the nature of the technological society, and the relationship between Christianity and modern culture. The Age of Secularization documents the encounter between a key period of contemporary history and the full intellectual maturity of one of its most perceptive observers. It makes available to English-language readers a lasting reflection on the philosophical roots of contemporary culture, and it is just as illuminating and topical today as it was nearly fifty years ago.
This thoroughly updated text offers students and adults an overarching perspective. The "Faith" section focuses on the nature of human faith and Christian faith. The "Religion" section examines the personal and social value of religion, religious belief and behavior, and offers an overview of major world religions. The "Theology" section includes an analysis of the theology/faith relationship. Suggested readings and study questions, excellent end notes and index add to the value of this edition.
The idea that the self is inextricably intertwined with the rest of the world--the "oneness hypothesis"--can be found in many of the world's philosophical and religious traditions. Oneness provides ways to imagine and achieve a more expansive conception of the self as fundamentally connected with other people, creatures, and things. Such views present profound challenges to Western hyperindividualism and its excessive concern with self-interest and tendency toward self-centered behavior. This anthology presents a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of the nature and implications of the oneness hypothesis. While fundamentally inspired by East and South Asian traditions, in which such a view is often critical to their philosophical approach, this collection also draws upon religious studies, psychology, and Western philosophy, as well as sociology, evolutionary theory, and cognitive neuroscience. Contributors trace the oneness hypothesis through the works of East Asian and Western schools, including Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Platonism and such thinkers as Zhuangzi, Kant, James, and Dewey. They intervene in debates over ethics, cultural difference, identity, group solidarity, and the positive and negative implications of metaphors of organic unity. Challenging dominant views that presume that the proper scope of the mind stops at the boundaries of skin and skull, The Oneness Hypothesis shows that a more relational conception of the self is not only consistent with contemporary science but has the potential to lead to greater happiness and well-being for both individuals and the larger wholes of which they are parts.
Building on recent engagements with Barth in the area of theologies of religion, Karl Barth and Comparative Theology inaugurates a new conversation between Barth's theology and comparative theology. Each essay brings Barth into conversation with theological claims from other religious traditions for the purpose of modeling deep learning across religious borders from a Barthian perspective. For each tradition, two Barth-influenced theologians offer focused engagements of Barth with the tradition's respective themes and figures, and a response from a theologian from that tradition then follows. With these surprising and stirringly creative exchanges, Karl Barth and Comparative Theology promises to open up new trajectories for comparative theology. Contributors: Chris Boesel, Francis X. Clooney, Christian T. Collins Winn, Victor Ezigbo, James Farwell, Tim Hartman, S. Mark Heim, Paul Knitter, Pan-chiu Lai, Martha L. Moore-Keish, Peter Ochs, Marc Pugliese, Joshua Ralston, Anantanand Rambachan, Randi Rashkover, Kurt Richardson, Mun'im Sirry, John Sheveland, Nimi Wariboko
Philosophy explores the deepest, most fundamental questions of reality. This accessible and entertaining chronology presents 250 of the most important theories, events and seminal publications in the field. Brief, engaging and beautifully illustrated entries cover a range of topics and cultures, from the Hindu Vedas and Plato's theory of forms to Pascal's Wager, existentialism, feminism and the Triple Theory of Ethics.
Transformation by Matt Bird explores how God is at work in the UK and nations around the world to establish the Kingdom of God 'on earth as it is in heaven'. Around the world God is connecting churches across communities, cities and countries to bring about social, political, economic, cultural and spiritual transformation. Transformation by Matt Bird explores how God is at work in the UK and nations around the world to establish the Kingdom of God 'on earth as it is in heaven'. Instead of coming up with great ideas and asking God to bless them Matt encourages us to ask the double-barrelled question, "What is God doing and how do we join in?" Transformation explores fourteen ways that God is at work through his church to bring about transformation. It poses questions to help us all consider how we can join in with God's mission. If you have a desire to change the world then read Transformation.
Philosophy of Religion is an engaging introduction to the main tenets of this fascinating subject, written clearly and with detailed enough explanation to be accessible to those new to the field, whilst providing original and challenging ideas to more experienced students. * The ideal introduction to this fascinating subject, providing a clear and engaging entry point to the field * The book lucidly introduces the main issues in philosophy of religion and develops a rigorous yet accessible approach to evaluating positions on these issues * No previous exposure to philosophy is assumed, and more technical topics are introduced and explained before they are employed * Original ideas and new approaches to concepts within the book ensure that it is also relevant to those already familiar with the subject
For curious readers young and old, a rich and colorful history of religion from humanity's earliest days to our own contentious times In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion-from the dawn of religious belief to the twenty-first century-with deepest respect and a keen commitment to accuracy. Writing for those with faith and those without, and especially for young readers, he encourages curiosity and tolerance, accentuates nuance and mystery, and calmly restores a sense of the value of faith. Ranging far beyond the major world religions of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, Holloway also examines where religious belief comes from, the search for meaning throughout history, today's fascinations with Scientology and creationism, religiously motivated violence, hostilities between religious people and secularists, and more. Holloway proves an empathic yet discerning guide to the enduring significance of faith and its power from ancient times to our own.
A passion for justice and truth motivates the bold challenge of Revisioning Gender in Philosophy of Religion. Unearthing the ways in which the myths of Christian patriarchy have historically inhibited and prohibited women from thinking and writing their own ideas, this book lays fresh ground for re-visioning the epistemic practices of philosophers. Pamela Sue Anderson seeks both to draw out the salient threads in the gendering of philosophy of religion as it has been practiced and to re-vision gender for philosophy today. The arguments put forth by contemporary philosophers of religion concerning human and divine attributes are epistemically located; yet the motivation to recognize this locatedness has to come from a concern for justice. This book presents invaluable new perspectives on the philosopher's ever-increasing awareness of his or her own locatedness, on the gender (often unwittingly) given to God, the ineffability in both analytic and Continental philosophy, the still critical role of reason in the field, the aims of a feminist philosophy of religion, the roles of beauty and justice, the vision of love and reason, and a gendering which opens philosophy of religion up to diversity.
Kierkegaard and Christian Faith responds directly to the perennial and problematic concern of how to read Kierkegaard. Specifically, this volume presses the question of whether the existentialist philosopher, who so troubled the waters of nineteenth-century Danish Christendom, is a "Christian thinker for our time." The chapters crisscross the disciplines of philosophy, theology, literature, and ethics, and are as rich in argument as they are diverse in style. Collectively the chapters demonstrate a principled agreement that Kierkegaard continues to be relevant, even imperative. Kierkegaard and Christian Faith reveals just how Kierkegaard's work both defines and reconfigures what is meant by "Christian thinker." Following an autobiographical prologue by Kathleen Norris, this volume gathers the chapters in pairs around crucial themes: the use of philosophy (Merold Westphal and C. Stephen Evans), revelation and authority (Richard Bauckham and Paul J. Griffiths), Christian character (Sylvia Walsh and Ralph C. Wood), the relationship between the church and the world (Jennifer A. Herdt and Paul Martens), and moral questions of forgiveness and love (Simon D. Podmore and Cyril O'Regan). The volume underscores the centrality of Christianity to Kierkegaard's life and thought, and rightly positions Kierkegaard as a profound challenge to Christianity as it is understood and practiced today.
Virtually everyone supports religious liberty, and virtually everyone opposes discrimination. But how do we handle the hard questions that arise when exercises of religious liberty seem to discriminate unjustly? How do we promote the common good while respecting conscience in a diverse society? This point-counterpoint book brings together leading voices in the culture wars to debate such questions: John Corvino, a longtime LGBT-rights advocate, opposite Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis, prominent young social conservatives. Many such questions have arisen in response to same-sex marriage: How should we treat county clerks who do not wish to authorize such marriages, for example; or bakers, florists, and photographers who do not wish to provide same-sex wedding services? But the conflicts extend well beyond the LGBT rights arena. How should we treat hospitals, schools, and adoption agencies that can't in conscience follow antidiscrimination laws, healthcare mandates, and other regulations? Should corporations ever get exemptions? Should public officials? Should we keep controversial laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or pass new ones like the First Amendment Defense Act? Should the law give religion and conscience special protection at all, and if so, why? What counts as discrimination, and when is it unjust? What kinds of material and dignitary harms should the law try to fightand what is dignitary harm, anyway? Beyond the law, how should we treat religious beliefs and practices we find mistaken or even oppressive? Should we tolerate them or actively discourage them? In point-counterpoint format, Corvino, Anderson and Girgis explore these questions and more. Although their differences run deep, they tackle them with civility, clarity, and flair. Their debate is an essential contribution to contemporary discussions about why religious liberty matters and what respecting it requires.
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