First published in 1968, Ninian Smart’s The Yogi and the Devotee: The Interplay Between the Upanishads and Catholic Theology is based on lectures given in Delhi and explores in a novel way the relation between Hinduism and Christianity. The author puts forward a general theory of the relationship between religious experience and doctrines, a theory he had developed in earlier works. He argues that a new form of ‘natural theology’ should be presented, which would show the relevance of religious experience (...) and ritual to what is given in revelation. Smart believes this could be the key to a new understanding between Christianity and Indian religions, and also examines what Christians can learn from other faiths. During a career as a Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Ninian Smart was hugely influential in the way Religious Studies was taught, not only in Britain but around the world. (shrink)
It has in recent years been argued, by Professors Antony Flew and J. L. Mackie, that God could have created men wholly good. For, causal determinism being compatible with free will, men could have been made in such a way that, without loss of freedom, they would never have fallen into sin. This if true would constitute a weighty anti-theistic argument. And yet intuitively it seems unconvincing. I wish here to uncover the roots of this intuitive suspicion.
Professor R. C. Zaehner's distinction between panenhenic, monistic and theistic mysticism will be examined. It will be argued that there is no necessary reason to suppose that the latter two types involve different sorts of experience: the difference lies rather in the way the experience is interpreted. Likewise it will be argued that the Theravperennial philosophy’ common to mystics. Their doctrines are determined partly by factors other than mystical experience itself.
Smart argues that saw ("british journal of aesthetics", Vol. I, 2) has given an account of the subject-Matter of aesthetics which is too general. It allows that the playing and watching of some games are aesthetic phenomena. Saw admits that there are aesthetic elements involved in these cases, But she claims that in enjoying these aspects of games one is not enjoying the game as such. (staff).
The pursuit of linguistic analysis should mean that philosophers pay attention to the facts: in particular, the philosophy of religion cannot ignore the comparative study of religion, social anthropology, etc. A main aim should be to discover a ?grammar? of religious experience, which may help to illuminate the reasons for certain patterns of religious belief, etc. Here it is necessary to resist the functionalist views of some social anthropologists, stemming from the conviction that religion is an illusion and from a (...) conflation of reasons and causes. But in so far as a functionalist approach applies, it can help to exhibit the accidental and ?non?religious? features of a given religion. (shrink)