This collection features five essays from noted theologians, philosophers, geneticists, and biologists who discuss the sweeping impact of Charles Darwin's _On the Origin of Species_ on their respective fields. This volume, edited by Ralph Buchsbaum, professor of biology at the University of Pittsburgh, was published to celebrate the centenary of Darwin's announcement in 1858, along with Alfred Russel Wallace, of their independent discovery of the process of natural selection. Darwin's book was published one year later.
Does Civilization Need Religion? sets out from the fact that religion's inability to make its ethical and social resources available for the solution of the moral problems of modern civilization is one, and the neglected one, of the two chief causes responsible for its debilitated condition. It is convinced that if Christian idealists are to make religion socially effective they will be forced to detach themselves from the dominant secular desires of the nations as well as from the greed of (...) economic groups. It aims to show that though neither the orthodox nor the modern wing of the Christian Church seems capable of initiating a genuine revival which will evolve a morality capable of challenging and maintaining itself against the dominant desires of modern civilization's needs, there are resources in the Christian religion which make it the inevitable basis of any spiritual regeneration of Western civilization. Does Civilization Need Religion? maintains that the task of redeeming Western society rests in a peculiar sense upon Christianity, which has reduced the eternal conflict between self-assertion and self-denial to the paradox of self-assertion through self-denial and made the Cross the symbol of life's highest achievement. It is persuaded that the idea of a potent but yet suffering divine ideal which is defeated by the world but gains its victory in the defeat must continue to remain basic in any morally creative worldview. (shrink)
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Arguably his most famous book, Moral Man and Immoral Society is Reinhold Niebuhr's important early study in ethics and politics. Widely read and continually relevant, this book marked Niebuhr's decisive break from progressive religion and politics toward a more deeply tragic view of human nature and history. Forthright and realistic, Moral Man and Immoral Society argues that individual morality is intrinsically incompatible with collective life, thus making social and political conflict inevitable. Niebuhr further discusses our inability to imagine the realities (...) of collective power; the brutal behavior of human collectives of every sort; and, ultimately, how individual morality can mitigate the persistence of social immorality. This new edition includes a foreword by Cornel West that explores the continued interest in Niebuhr's thought and its contemporary relevance. (shrink)
_The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness_, first published in 1944, is considered one of the most profound and relevant works by the influential theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and certainly the fullest statement of his political philosophy. Written and first read during the prolonged, tragic world war between totalitarian and democratic forces, Niebuhr’s book took up the timely question of how democracy as a political system could best be defended. Most proponents of democracy, Niebuhr claimed, were “children of light,” (...) who had optimistic but naïve ideas about how society could be rid of evil and governed by enlightened reason. They needed, he believed, to absorb some of the wisdom and strength of the “children of darkness,” whose ruthless cynicism and corrupt, anti-democratic politics should otherwise be repudiated. He argued for a prudent, liberal understanding of human society that took the measure of every group’s self-interest and was chastened by a realistic understanding of the limits of power. It is in the foreword to this book that he wrote, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” This edition includes a new introduction by the theologian and Niebuhr scholar Gary Dorrien in which he elucidates the work’s significance and places it firmly into the arc of Niebuhr’s career. (shrink)
“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away... the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—President Barack Obama Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America (...) came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace. “The supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.”—Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times “Niebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about America’s tendency—including the left’s tendency—to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.”—Kevin Mattson, The Good Society “Irony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft.... The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction. (shrink)