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When confronted by horrendous evil, even the most pious believer may question not only life's worth but also God's power and goodness. A distinguished philosopher and a practicing minister, Marilyn McCord Adams has written a highly original work on a fundamental dilemma of Christian thought how to reconcile faith in God with the evils that afflict human beings. Adams argues that much of the discussion in analytic philosophy of religion over the last forty years has offered too narrow an understanding of the problem. The ground rules accepted for the discussion have usually led philosophers to avert their gaze from the worst horrendous evils and their devastating impact on human lives. They have agreed to debate the issue on the basis of religion-neutral values, and have focused on morals, an approach that Adams claims is inadequate for formulating and solving the problem of horrendous evils. She emphasizes instead the fruitfulness of other evaluative categories such as purity and defilement, honor and shame, and aesthetics. If redirected, philosophical reflection on evil can, Adams's book demonstrates, provide a valuable approach not only to theories of God and evil but also to pastoral care."
Postmodern theorist Michel Foucault is best known for his work on "power/ knowledge," and on the regulation of sexuality in modern society. Yet throughout his life, Foucault was continually concerned with Christianity, other spiritual movements and religious traditions, and the death of God, and these themes and materials scattered are throughout his many writings. "Religion and Culture" collects for the first time this important thinker's work on religion, religious experience, and society. Here are classic essays such as "The Battle for" "Chastity," alongside those that have been less widely read in English or in French. Selections are arranged in three groupings: Madness, Religion and the Avant-Garde; Religions, Politics and the East; and Christianity, Sexuality and the Self: Fragments of an Unpublished Volume. Ranging from Foucault's earliest studies of madness to "Confessions of the Flesh," the unpublished fourth volume of his "History of Sexuality," his final thoughts on early Christianity, Religion and Culture makes Foucault's work an indispensable part of contemporary religious thought, while also making an important link between religious studies and cultural studies.
The book opens with an engaging history of the subject, mapping the major landmarks and outlining the main issues of current debate. The rest of the book falls into three parts: Part 1: Approaches. Descriptions of the main approaches developed by scholars to study the subject, with lively case histories and working examples showing the approaches in action, and assessing their lasting value. Part 2: Concepts and Issues. Brief introductions to their origins and evolution, highlighting their significance in the work of major thinkers. Part 3 Key Terms. Concise explanations of all the words and phrases that readers need to know in order to fully grasp the subject.
Sudduth provides a critical exploration of classical empirical arguments for survival arguments that purport to show that data collected from ostensibly paranormal phenomena constitute good evidence for the survival of the self after death. Utilizing the conceptual tools of formal epistemology, he argues that classical arguments are unsuccessful.
Based on 10 years of dedicated research, Dangerous Illusions is a battle cry for the human race to throw off religion in favour of logic and reason. In this committed and passionate book, author Vitaly Malkin - a philanthropist, business man and investor - argues for a radical shift in humanity's thinking about religion; that reason and religion cannot co-exist, and that mankind will only be truly happy if we are able to shake off the illusions of religion in order to live a life more rooted in the present. Dangerous Illusions sets out to explore the irrational demands that religion makes of man and asks the reader to question what benefit these acts offer human beings in this life. Malkin scrutinises topics such as suffering and evil, pleasure and asceticism, sex and celibacy, and circumcision and excision, through the lens of the three major world monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In doing so, the book fearlessly refutes our most careless beliefs, encouraging us to be more aware of the dangers religions pose to our society and, even to change our intellectual practices altogether.
The title of Charles Taliaferro's book is derived from poems and stories in which a person in peril or on a quest must follow a cord or string in order to find the way to happiness, safety, or home. In one of the most famous of such tales, the ancient Greek hero Theseus follows the string given him by Ariadne to mark his way in and out of the Minotaur's labyrinth. William Blake's poem "Jerusalem" uses the metaphor of a golden string, which, if followed, will lead one to heaven itself. Taliaferro extends Blake's metaphor to illustrate the ways we can link what we see, feel, and do with deep spiritual realities. Taliaferro offers a foundational case for the recognition of the experience of the eternal God of Christianity, in which God is understood as the fount of all goodness and the subject and object of our best love, revealed through scripture, tradition, philosophical reflection, and encountered in everyday events. He addresses philosophical obstacles to the recognition of such experiences, especially objections from the "new atheists," and explores the values involved in thinking and experiencing God as eternal. These include the belief that the eternal goodness of God subordinates temporal goods, such as the pursuit of fame and earthly glory; that God is the essence of life; and that the eternal God hallows domestic goods, blessing the everyday goods of ordinary life. An exploration of the moral and spiritual riches of the Christian tradition as an alternative to materialism and naturalism, "The Golden Cord" brings an originality and depth to the debate in accessible and engaging prose. "Charles Taliaferro has written a thought-provoking, original work that succeeds in throwing some of the central tenets of naturalism into question. He has gathered cutting-edge scholarship from the context of debates about naturalism and discusses that within the framework of a theological account of the human condition. The result is a robust theological response to secular naturalism, one that deserves to be taken seriously by the latter's proponents." --Victoria Harrison, University of Glasgow
"In the Self's Place" is an original phenomenological reading of Augustine that considers his engagement with notions of identity in "Confessions." Using the Augustinian experience of "confessio," Jean-Luc Marion develops a model of selfhood that examines this experience in light of the whole of the Augustinian corpus. Towards this end, Marion engages with noteworthy modern and postmodern analyses of Augustine's most "experiential" work, including the critical commentaries of Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Marion ultimately concludes that Augustine has preceded postmodernity in exploring an excess of the self over and beyond itself, and in using this alterity of the self to itself, as a driving force for creative relations with God, the world, and others. This reading establishes striking connections between accounts of selfhood across the fields of contemporary philosophy, literary studies, and Augustine's early Christianity.
In his latest book, William Egginton laments the current debate over religion in America, in which religious fundamentalists have set the tone of political discourse--no one can get elected without advertising a personal relation to God, for example--and prominent atheists treat religious belief as the root of all evil. Neither of these positions, Egginton argues, adequately represents the attitudes of a majority of Americans who, while identifying as Christians, Jews, and Muslims, do not find fault with those who support different faiths and philosophies. In fact, Egginton goes so far as to question whether fundamentalists and atheists truly oppose each other, united as they are in their commitment to a "code of codes." In his view, being a religious fundamentalist does not require adhering to a particular religious creed. Fundamentalists--and stringent atheists--unconsciously believe that the methods we use to understand the world are all versions of an underlying master code. This code of codes represents an ultimate truth, explaining everything. Surprisingly, perhaps the most effective weapon against such thinking is religious moderation, a way of believing that questions the very possibility of a code of codes as the source of all human knowledge. The moderately religious, with their inherent skepticism toward a master code, are best suited to protect science, politics, and other diverse strains of knowledge from fundamentalist attack, and to promote a worldview based on the compatibility between religious faith and scientific method.
In this volume, the second of his three-volume reinterpretation of
Christian theology, Paul Tillich comes to grips with the central
idea of his system--the doctrine of the Christ. Man's predicament
is described as the state of "estrangement" from himself, from his
world, and from the divine ground of his self and his world. This
situation drives man to the quest for a new state of things, in
which reconciliation and reunion conquer estrangement. This is the
quest for the Christ.
Peter Hitchens lost faith as a teenager. But eventually finding atheism barren, he came by a logical process to his current affiliation to an unmodernised belief in Christianity. Hitchens describes his return from the far political left. Familiar with British left-wing politics, it was travelling in the Communist bloc that first undermined and replaced his leftism, a process virtually completed when he became a newspaper's resident Moscow correspondent in 1990, just before the collapse of the Communist Party. He became convinced of certain propositions. That modern western social democratic politics is a form of false religion in which people try to substitute a social conscience for an individual one. That utopianism is actively dangerous. That liberty and law are attainable human objectives which are also the good by-products of Christian faith. Faith is the best antidote to utopianism, dismissing the dangerous idea of earthly perfection, discouraging people from acting as if they were God, encouraging people to act in the belief that there is a God and an ordered, purposeful universe, governed by an unalterable law.
The subject of this book is the relationship and the difference between the temporal everlasting and the atemporal eternal. This book treats the difference between a temporal postmortem life and eternal life. It identifies the conceptual tension in the religious idea of eternal life and offers a resolution of that tension.
Exposing the religious roots of our ostensibly godless age, Michael Allen Gillespie reveals in this landmark study that modernity is much less secular than conventional wisdom suggests. Taking as his starting point the collapse of the medieval world, Gillespie argues that from the very beginning moderns sought not to eliminate religion but to support a new view of religion and its place in human life. He goes on to explore the ideas of such figures as William of Ockham, Petrarch, Erasmus, Luther, Descartes, and Hobbes, showing that modernity is best understood as a series of attempts to formulate a new and coherent metaphysics or theology.
"Bringing the history of political thought up to date and situating it against the backdrop of contemporary events, Gillespie's analyses provide us a way to begin to have conversations with the Islamic world about what is perhaps the central question within each of the three monotheistic religions: if God is omnipotent, then what is the place of human freedom?"--Joshua Mitchell, Georgetown University
What is the nature of Hell? What role(s) may Hell play in religious, political, or ethical thought? Can Hell be justified? This edited volume addresses these questions and others; drawing philosophers from many approaches and traditions to analyze and examine Hell.
Can we talk meaningfully about God? The theological movement known as Grammatical Thomism affirms that religious language is nonsensical, because the reality of God is beyond our capacity for expression. Stephen Mulhall critically evaluates the claims of this movement (as exemplified in the work of Herbert McCabe and David Burrell) to be a legitimate inheritor of Wittgenstein's philosophical methods as well as Aquinas's theological project. The major obstacle to this claim is that Grammatical Thomism makes the nonsensicality of religious language when applied to God a touchstone of Thomist insight, whereas 'nonsense' is standardly taken to be solely a term of criticism in Wittgenstein's work. Mulhall argues that, if Wittgenstein is read in the terms provided by the work of Cora Diamond and Stanley Cavell, then a place can be found in both his early work and his later writings for a more positive role to be assigned to nonsensical utterances-one which depends on exploiting an analogy between religious language and riddles. And once this alignment between Wittgenstein and Aquinas is established, it also allows us to see various ways in which his later work has a perfectionist dimension-in that it overlaps with the concerns of moral perfectionism, and in that it attributes great philosophical significance to what theology and philosophy have traditionally called 'perfections' and 'transcendentals', particularly concepts such as Being, Truth, and Unity or Oneness. This results in a radical reconception of the role of analogous usage in language, and so in the relation between philosophy and theology.
While only rarely reflecting explicitly on liturgy, French philosopher Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) gave sustained attention to several themes pertinent to the interpretation of worship, including metaphor, narrative, subjectivity, and memory. Inspired by his well-known aphorism, "The symbol gives rise to thought," Liturgical Theology after Schmemann offers an original exploration of the symbolic world of the Byzantine Rite , culminating in a Ricoeurian analysis of its Theophany "Great Blessing of Water." . The book examines two fundamental questions: 1) what are the implications of the philosopher's oeuvre for liturgical theology at large? And 2)how does the adoption of a Ricoeurian hermeneutic shape the study of a particular rite? Taking the seminal legacy of Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983) as its point of departure, Butcher contributes to the renewal of contemporary Eastern Christian thought and ritual practice by engaging a spectrum of current theological and philosophical conversations.
In a pluralistic society such as ours, tolerance is a virtue--but it doesn't always seem so. Some suspect that it entangles us in unacceptable moral compromises and inequalities of power, while others dismiss it as mere political correctness or doubt that it can safeguard the moral and political relationships we value. Tolerance among the Virtues provides a vigorous defense of tolerance against its many critics and shows why the virtue of tolerance involves exercising judgment across a variety of different circumstances and relationships--not simply applying a prescribed set of rules. Drawing inspiration from St. Paul, Aquinas, and Wittgenstein, John Bowlin offers a nuanced inquiry into tolerance as a virtue. He explains why the advocates and debunkers of toleration have reached an impasse, and he suggests a new way forward by distinguishing the virtue of tolerance from its false look-alikes, and from its sibling, forbearance. Some acts of toleration are right and good, while others amount to indifference, complicity, or condescension. Some persons are able to draw these distinctions well and to act in accord with their better judgment. When we praise them as tolerant, we are commending them as virtuous. Bowlin explores what that commendation means. Tolerance among the Virtues offers invaluable insights into how to live amid differences we cannot endorse--beliefs we consider false, actions we think are unjust, institutional arrangements we consider cruel or corrupt, and persons who embody what we oppose.
Through a probing investigation of conservative Christianity and its response to an issue that, according to the statistics of conservative Christian groups, affects only a small number of Americans, Ludger Viefhues-Bailey alights on a profound theological conundrum: in today's conservative Christian movement, both sexes are called upon to be at once assertive and submissive, masculine and feminine, not only within the home but also within the church, society, and the state. Therefore the arguments of conservative Christians against same-sex marriage involve more than literal readings of the Bible or nostalgia for simple gender roles.
Focusing primarily on texts produced by Focus on the Family, a leading media and ministry organization informing conservative Christian culture, Viefhues-Bailey identifies two distinct ideas of male homosexuality: gender-disturbed and passive; and oversexed, strongly masculine, and aggressive. These homosexualities enable a complex ideal of Christian masculinity in which men are encouraged to be assertive toward the world while also being submissive toward God and family. This web of sexual contradiction influences the flow of power between the sexes and within the state. It joins notions of sexual equality to claims of "natural" difference, establishing a fraught basis for respectable romantic marriage. Heterosexual union is then treated as emblematic of, if not essential to, the success of American political life--yet far from creating gender stability, these tensions produce an endless striving for balance. Viefhues-Bailey's final, brilliant move is to connect the desire for stability to the conservative Christian movement's strategies of political power.
At a moment of cultural and political crisis, with forces of reaction seemingly ascendant throughout the West, it's fair to ask what use does anyone have for America, God, or any other similar fictions? What use does theological language have for the radical facing the apocalypse? Among the subjects considered: the need for an Augustinian left, legacies of American violence, speaking in tongues, the humanities facing climate change, the maturity of realizing that you will die, how to sail towards Utopia, and witches. 'Ed Simon's essays help readers to understand how we got to this complicated moment in American religious history. Deft, thoughtful, and creatively told.' Kaya Oakes, author of Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture
This book explores the concept of Life from a range of perspectives. Divided into three parts, it first examines the concept of Life from physics to biology. It then presents insights on the concept from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and ethics. The book concludes with chapters on the hermeneutics of Life, and pays special attention to the Biosemiotics approach to the concept. The question `What is Life?' has been deliberated by the greatest minds throughout human history. Life as we know it is not a substance or fundamental property, but a complex process. It is not an easy task to develop an unequivocal approach towards Life combining scientific, semiotic, philosophical, theological, and ethical perspectives. In its combination of these perspectives, and its wide-ranging scope, this book opens up levels and identifies issues which can serve as intersections for meaningful interdisciplinary discussions of Life in its different aspects. The book includes the four plenary lectures and selected, revised and extended papers from workshops of the 14th European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XIV) held in Tartu, Estonia, April 2012.
This open access book brings together works by specialists from different disciplines and continents to reflect on the nexus between leadership, spirituality and discernment, particularly with regard to a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA). The book spells out, first of all, what our VUCA world entails, and how it affects businesses, organizations, and societies as a whole. Secondly, the book develops new perspectives on the processes of leadership, spirituality, and discernment, particularly in this VUCA context. These perspectives are interdisciplinary in nature, and are informed by e.g. management studies, leadership theory, philosophy, and theology.
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