Letters to Doubting Thomas is an exchange of letters between two characters on the existence of God; it provides a cumulative case for Theism (the belief that God exists). Chapter by chapter, theism is compared with Naturalism (roughly, the view that there is no God and that ultimate reality is physical reality), concluding that Theism (on balance) provides a better explanation of the world and human life than does Naturalism.
Challenging the assumption that the concept of divine action is necessarily paradoxical, on the grounds that God is radically transcendent of finitude, or can perform only a master act of creating and sustaining the universe, Frank Kirkpatrick defends as philosophically credible the Christian conviction that God is a personal Agent who also acts in particular historical moments to further the divine intention of fostering universal community. Kirkpatrick claims that God and the world are distinct realities "together bound" in a mutual (...) relationship of reciprocal historical action. In this relationship, God both acts upon and responds to human beings in specific moments in their history. The implications of this claim for understanding the biblical narrative, the problem of evil, cosmological theories, and the realism of Christian community are pursued. (shrink)
Faith and Criticism addresses a central problem in the church today--the tension between traditionalists and progressives. Traditionalists want above all to hold fast to traditional foundations in belief and ensure that nothing of value is lost, even at the risk of a clash with "modern knowledge." Progressives are concerned above all to proclaim a faith that is credible today, even at the risk of sacrificing some elements of traditional doctrine. They are often locked in uncomprehending conflict. Basil Mitchell argues that, (...) not only in theology but in any other serious intellectual pursuit, faith and criticism are interdependent. A tradition which is not open to criticism will eventually ossify; and without faith in some established tradition criticism has nothing to fasten upon. This interdependence of faith and criticism has implications for society at large. Religious education can be Christian without ceasing to be critical, and a liberal society can espouse Christian values. (shrink)
In a tour de force of scholarship and vision, Ken Wilber traces the course of evolution from matter to life to mind. In each case evolution has a "direction," a tendency to produce more highly organized patterns. The "spirit of evolution" lies in its directionality: order out of chaos. After arriving at the emergence of mind, Wilber traces the evolution of human consciousness through its major stages of development, pointing out that at each stage there is the "dialectic of progress"--every (...) increase in consciousness is bought at a price: new freedom also means new license to choose destruction. He particularly focuses on the rise of modernity and post-modernity--what they mean, how they relate to gender issues, to psychotherapy, to ecological concerns, and to various liberation movements. Most important, he asks: Can spiritual concerns be integrated with massive developments of the modern world? This edition is updated and includes a new introduction placing it in the context of the Collected Works. (shrink)
Have evolution, science and the trappings of the modern world killed off God irrevocably? And what do we lose if we choose not to believe in him? From Newton and Descartes to Darwin and the discovery of the genome, religion has been pushed back further and further while science has gained ground. But what fills the void that religion leaves behind? This book is an attempt to look at these questions and to suggest a third way between the easy consolations (...) of religion and the persuasive force of science that the everyday modern reader can engage with. (shrink)
Arguing for Atheism introduces a wide range of topics in the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. Robin Le Poidevin does not simply defend a denial of God's existence; he presents instead a way of intepreting religious discourse which allows us to make sense of the role of religion in our spiritual and moral lives. Ideal as a textbook for university courses in the philosophy of religion and metaphysics, Arguing for Atheism is also designed to be accessible, in its style and (...) its numerous explanations, to the general reader. (shrink)
This book addresses a fundamental question in the philosophy of religion. Can religious experience provide evidence for religious belief? If so, how? Keith Yandell argues against the notion that religious experience is ineffable, while advocating the view that strong numinous experience provides some evidence that God exists. An attractive feature of the book is that it does not confine its attention to any one religious cultural tradition, but tracks the nature of religious experience across different traditions in both the East (...) and the West. (shrink)
The past forty years or so have witnessed a renaissance in the philosophy of religion. New tools (modal logic, probability theory, and so on) and new historical research have prompted many thinkers to take a fresh look at old topics (God’s existence, the problem of evil, faith and reason, and the like). Moreover, sophisticated examinations of contentious new issues, such as the problem of religious diversity or the role of emotions and other non-evidential factors in shaping rationally held religious beliefs, (...) have also emerged. Addressing the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of this rapidly growing and ever more complex corpus of scholarly literature, Philosophy of Religion is a new title in the Routledge Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Philosophy. Edited by a leading scholar, it is a four-volume collection which brings together key examples of the most important recent work, together with carefully selected historical pieces needed to understand them. Volume I focuses on concepts of the divine while Volume II explores arguments for and against the existence of a divine reality, with special attention to the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness, and the case for naturalism. Volume III and the first part of Volume IV are devoted to broadly epistemic issues: the cognitive value of religious experience; the proper role of evidence in the formation of religious belief; the nature of justified religious belief; and pragmatic arguments for religious belief. The remainder of Volume IV introduces some of the best recent work on religious diversity, tolerance, and the public role of religion in a pluralistic society. The Philosophy of Religion is fully indexed and has a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, which places the material in its historical and intellectual context. It is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars and students as a vital one-stop research resource. Available now at a special introductory price. This price is applicable until 3 months after publication. For more information, please contact us ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). (shrink)
At least since Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, it has increasingly become accepted that the existence of God is, intellectually, a lost cause, and that religious faith is an entirely non-rational matter--the province of those who willingly refuse to accept the dramatic advances of modern cosmology. Are belief in God and belief in science really mutually exclusive? Or, as noted philosopher of science and religion Richard Swinburne puts forth, can the very same criteria which scientists use to (...) reach theories about everything from DNA to the Big Bang be used to argue for the existence of God? In Is There a God? Swinburne presents a powerful and approachable case for the existence of God. Using the methods of scientific reasoning, Swinburne rigorously argues that science, far from replacing God, provides good grounds for belief in God. With each new discovery and advance, from black holes to quarks, superstrings to continuing evolution, science brings us closer to a complete understanding of how things work--but science can only go so far. Though it can explain much of how the universe works, science doesn't tell us why there is a universe at all. We can understand much of how life evolved, but why is there any life on earth? We can name and explicate scientific laws, but how is it that they operate in the universe? The Darwinian theory holds that the complex animal and human bodies that are here today exist because, ages ago, there were certain chemicals on earth, and given the laws of evolution, it was probable that complex organisms would emerge. But why those laws rather than any other? Why those chemicals? In Swinburne's view, the ultimate grand unifying theory is possible only by a belief in what he calls theism, acknowledging the existence of God: it was God who brought about the natural laws so that humans and animals would evolve. The watch may have been made, Swinburne asserts in reference to Richard Dawkins, with the aid of some blind screwdrivers (or even a blind watchmaking machine), but they were guided by a watchmaker with some very clear sight. At the heart of his argument is Swinburne's belief that the very success of science in showing us how deeply ordered the natural world is provides strong grounds for believing there is an even deeper cause of that order. By embracing a belief in God that acknowledges the truth in science, Swinburne's elegant argument supplies an essential spiritual element to our understanding of order and beauty, the structure beneath the chaos of the natural world. This informed and provocative volume will be essential reading for all readers of popular science, philosophy, and religion. (shrink)
This book is about Relational and Contextual Reasoning (RCR), a new theory of the human mind that addresses key areas of human conflict, such as the ideological conflict between nations, in close relationships and between science and religion. K. Helmut Reich provides a clear and accessible introduction to the RCR way of thinking that encourages an inclusive rather than oppositional approach to conflict and problem-solving.
Charting a "middle way" between the extremes represented by Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, Garth Hallett explores the thesis that if belief in other minds is rational and true (as it surely is), so too is belief in God. He makes a strong case that when this parity claim is appropriately restricted to a single, sound other-minds belief, belief in God and belief in other minds do prove epistemically comparable. This result, and the distinctive path that leads to it, will (...) interest students and scholars in philosophy of religion and theology. (shrink)
This unique textbook--the first to offer balanced, comprehensive coverage of all major perspectives on the rational justification of religious belief--includes twenty-four key papers by some of the world's leading philosophers of religion. Arranged in six sections, each representing a major approach to religious epistemology, the book begins with papers by noted atheists, setting the stage for the main theistic responses--Wittgensteinian Fideism, Reformed epistemology, natural theology, prudential accounts of religious beliefs, and rational belief based in religious experience--in each case offering a (...) representative sample of papers by leading exponents, a critical paper, and a substantial bibliography. A comprehensive introductory essay and ample cross-references help students to contrast and evaluate the different approaches, while the overall arrangement encourages them to assess the full range of philosophical positions on the issue. Carefully selected to provide both a comprehensive overview of current work and a series of modern perspectives on many classic sources--Swinburne's detailed discussion of Hume's critique of the design argument, for example, as well as an entire section evaluating and extending Pascal's famous Wager--the essays also provide a uniquely readable survey that will be useful in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy of religion and epistemology. (shrink)
Recent debates about Intelligent Design have brought into high relief the huge schism between those who believe in Darwin and the power of science to understand the world, and those who look through the prism of religious faith. Why, asks eminent philosopher Philip Kitcher, does this debate continue to rage given that the scientific consensus in favor of Darwin is overwhelming? This accessible and elegant essay attempts to answer this question. Kitcher first presents the compelling evidence on behalf of Darwin's (...) evolutionary theory, bringing out with unprecedented clarity the structure of the reasoning that has convinced almost all educated people of its merits during the past century and a half. He then sets the current debate about Intelligent Design in historical context, showing that ID theory is really dead science. Explaining the scientific issues in an elegant and accessible way, Kitcher shows how crucial discoveries successively undermined the Creationist views about life on earth that were once considered scientific orthodoxy. Finally, Kitcher goes on to analyze the recurrent opposition to Darwinian ideas, arguing that they do present a genuine threat to those forms of religion that invoke divine providence. A Darwinian understanding of the history of life makes popular forms of religious faith, including most versions of Christianity and Judaism, hard to sustain. The dispute about Intelligent Design emerges as a symptom of a much deeper problem - the clash between the deep impulses to religion and the discoveries of the natural and human sciences. Kitcher contends that we cannot resolve that clash either by denying these discoveries or by brusquely overriding the underlying impulses. Somehow, we must develop a version of secular humanism that will prove genuinely satisfying. (shrink)
Introduction -- Overview -- Theism, simplicity, and properly anthropocentric metaphysics -- Materialism and dualism -- The power, knowledge, and motives of the primordial God -- The existence of the primordial God -- God changes -- Understanding evil -- The Trinity -- The Incarnation -- Concluding remarks.
Introduction -- Postmodernity's transcending -- Rhetor and rhetoric -- The truth of sublimity -- The soul of sublimity -- Analogia entis -- Counting up to one is sublime -- Negating sublimity -- Devaluing God -- Transcending postmodernity -- Conclusion.
This excellent anthology in the philosophy of religion examines the basic classical and a host of contemporary issues in thirteen thematic sections. Assuming little or no familiarity with the religious concepts it addresses, it provides a well-balanced and accessible approach to the field. The articles cover the standard topics in the field, including religious experience, theistic arguments, the problem of evil, and miracles, as well as topics that have gained the attention of philosophers of religion in the last fifteen years, (...) such as reformed epistemology, the philosophical analysis of theological doctrine, and the kalam theological argument. The collection also includes topics often requested by instructors but seldom covered in competing texts, such as religion and science, religious pluralism, process theism, and religious ethics, offering greater flexibility in choosing exact topics for use in courses. The format of the book makes it an ideal teaching text, as each section begins with a brief introduction to the central topic or issue treated by the readings which follow. Each reading is preceded by a one paragraph summary, and a bibliography of suggested readings follow each section. Philosophy of Religion functions well as a stand-alone textbook for courses in the philosophy of religion, and is readily compatible for use as a primary source reader in conjunction with a secondary text. It is an ideal companion to Reason and Religious Belief, 2e (OUP, 1997). (shrink)
This book explores recently opened avenues in logic and philosophical analysis to offer new perspectives on time-honored religious beliefs. Topics covered include the nature of divine attributes, the implications of divine benevolence and divine justice, arguments in support of theism and atheism, and religion and morality.
The case for dialogue -- Increasing moral capital through moral imagination -- The art of ethical dialogue -- Intelligent spirituality in business -- Spirituality in (and out) of the classroom -- Listening to the anxious atheists -- Beyond the flat world metaphor -- Dialogue as a restraint on wealth -- The limits of dialogue.
Religion, spirituality, and contemporary shamanic practice in Scotland : exploring the relationships -- The impacts of transformational cultural change on religion and spirituality -- Seeking a new definition of religion -- What is shamanism? -- A case study of three shamanic practice groups in Scotland -- Exploring connections between cross-cultural shamanic elements and neo-shamanic expressions in Scotland : interviews, participant observation, and analysis -- Applying Hervieu-Lger's analytical model of religion to reveal a lineage of spirituality, not belief, in the shamanic (...) chain of memory -- Patterns, conclusions, and resulting issues -- Seeing differently : a new paradigm of spirituality and religion. (shrink)
At his death in 1987, Paul W. Pruyser of the Menninger Foundation was widely recognized as one of America's foremost authorities on the psychology of religion. His book A Dynamic Psychology of Religion set the stage for creative dialogue on the subject. In this volume, two leading practitioners in the field present a compilation of Pruyser's seminal articles, providing an overview of the major themes in Pruyser's thought. Newton Malony and Bernard Spilka evaluate Pruyser's viewpoint and suggest how (...) his position continues to influence the psychology of religion. (shrink)
For those seeking an answer to this question and to understand Buddhism as an important part of the world's religious and cultural heritage, Philosophy of the Buddha is an excellent introduction and guide.
For centuries, westerners have referred to China's numerous traditions of spiritual expression as "religious"--a word born of western thought that cannot completely characterize the passionate writing that fills the pages of this pathbreaking anthology. The first of its kind in well over thirty years, this text offers the student of Chinese ritual and cosmology the broadest range of primary sources from antiquity to the modern era. Readings are arranged chronologically and cover such concepts as Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and even communism. (...) A large number of the selections concern the role of the female in Chinese religion, and are either by or about women. Through invocations, poetry, drama, philosophical texts, religious treatises, and modern fiction, students hear the voices of numerous Chinese masters expounding on the movements and traditions that inspired them: the mysterious Tao-te ching of Lao Tzu, cloaked in the mists of deepest antiquity; the Analects of stately, reverent Confucius; "Nailing a Stick into Empty Space," from The Recorded Conversations of Ch'an Master I-hsuan, and many others, including the work of Mencius, Pan Chao, Han Shan, Chang Tsai, Wang Yang-ming, Lu Hsun, and Mao Tse-tung. Fully one third of the translations are new, and each reading is preceded by an introduction that explains its importance and salient features. Complete with a helpful chronology of dynasties and list of possible video sources, this remarkable volume collects under one cover the most significant and influential works of China's dynamic spiritual tradition, making a fundamental contribution to courses in Chinese religion, literature, and history. (shrink)