This book offers the rare opportunity to assess, within a single volume, the leading schools of thought in the contemporary philosophy of religion. With contributions by well-known exponents of each school, the book is an ideal text for assessing the deep proximities and divisions which characterize contemporary philosophy of religion. The schools of thought represented include philosophical theism, Reformed epistemology, Wittgensteinianism, Postmodernism, Critical Theory, and Process Thought.
With the entry-level student in mind, Stuart Brown guides the reader through three main topics: whether or not there is life after death; whether or not there is a powerful, beneficent intelligence controlling the universe; and the nature and appropriate defence of religious belief or faith. Each chapter is linked to readings by commentators on religion and belief, such as David Hume, John Hick, Richard Dawkins and William James. Key features also include activities and exercises, chapter summaries and guides to (...) further reading. (shrink)
AT LEAST ONE MODEL OF THE RATIONAL RELIGIOUS BELIEVER EXISTS: PRIMARY COMMITMENT TO DISCOVERING TRUTH AND ACTING RIGHTLY; COMMITMENT TO A RELIGION FLOWING FROM THOSE PRIMARY ONES; SOME DEGREE OF TENTATIVENESS ABOUT FAITH; SEARCHING FOR PROBABILITY, MORE THAN CERTAINTY; FAITH CONSTITUTING A PARTLY MORAL WAGER AIMED AT MAXIMIZING EXPECTED UTILITIES OF CERTAIN KINDS; A TOLERANT WISDOM ABOUT COMMITMENTS (AND ORDERINGS) PARTLY PLEASING TO SUCH SECULAR THINKERS AS MILL, QUINE AND POPPER, ALSO AQUINAS, BARTLEY AND WILLIAM JAMES; PRIMARY LOVE FOR GOD (...) AS THE SUPREME JUSTIFIER OF HUMAN JUSTIFIER OF HUMAN HISTORY--GOD’S POWER BEING TREATED AS SECONDARY TO HIS GOODNESS. (TOPICS INCLUDE: MIRACLES, IS AND OUGHT, PROBABILITY, WAGERS, PROOFS, TIME, WAR). (shrink)
This study explores the nature of the conflict between science and religion. It shows through a detailed examination of this conflict as it was manifested in nineteenth century Britain that it is a fallacy that religion and science can co-exist in mutual harmony, since the legacy of their conflict in the past century has been inherited by this century, greatly to the detriment of religious belief. It is the author's contention that a return to the essentials of Kant's critical philosophy (...) would lay bare the profound differences between religious and scientific approaches to the world, and the nature of the choice people can make between them. In his effort to demarcate the outlines of a genuine Biblical theology (and to articulate the proper procedures for producing one) the author casts light on important questions of Biblical interpretation, and demands a radical reassessment of the meaning of science for society. (shrink)
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)
The adolescing self -- Imaging and fettered imaging -- Characteristics of the superego God -- Adolescing religion and formal religion -- Images of the superego God -- The adult self -- Unfettered imaging and religious experiencing -- Characteristics of the living God -- Adult religion and integral spirituality -- Images of the living God -- Transformation and why it gets so little attention -- What hinders transformation -- What facilitates transformation -- Images of transformation.
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)
Different religious traditions offer apparently very different pictures of the world. How are we to make sense of this radical diversity of religious belief? In this book, Professor Godlove argues that religions are alternative conceptual frameworks, the categories of which organise experience in diverse ways. He traces the history of this idea from Kant to Durkheim, and then proceeds to discuss two constraints on the diversity of all human judgment and belief: first that human experience is made possible by shared, (...) a priori rules, and second, that as language-users we must presuppose that we hold the vast bulk of our beliefs in common. Given these unavoidable constraints, it is clear how religions may offer encompassing symbolic systems that often diverge dramatically from one another. 'An original and brilliant critique of Durkheim and Kant from within the framework of Davidson's semantic theory. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the academic study of religion, and the problems of relativism and the diversity of belief.' -- Hans H. Penner, Dartmouth CollegeDifferent religious traditions offer apparently very different pictures of the world. How are we to make sense of this radical diversity of religious belief? In this book, Professor Godlove argues that religions are alternative conceptual frameworks, the categories of which organise experience in diverse ways. He traces the history of this idea from Kant to Durkheim, and then proceeds to discuss two constraints on the diversity of all human judgment and belief: first that human experience is made possible by shared, a priori rules, and second, that as language-users we must presuppose that we hold the vast bulk of our beliefs in common. Given these unavoidable constraints, it is clear how religions may offer encompassing symbolic systems that often diverge dramatically from one another. 'An original and brilliant critique of Durkheim and Kant from within the framework of Davidson's semantic theory. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the academic study of religion, and the problems of relativism and the diversity of belief.' -- Hans H. Penner, Dartmouth College. (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)
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)
This cogently argued and richly illustrated book rejects the dichotomy between the God of Abraham and the God of the philosophers to argue that the two are one. In God of Abraham, one of our leading philosophers of religion shows how human values can illuminate our idea of God and how the monotheistic idea of God in turn illuminates our moral, social, cultural, aesthetic, and even ritual understanding. Throughout Goodman draws on a wealth of traditional, philosophical, historical, and anthropological materials, (...) and particularly on a wide range of Jewish sources. He demonstrates how an adequate understanding of the interplay of values with monotheism dissolves many of the longstanding problems of natural theology and ethics and guides us toward a genuinely humanistic moral and social philosophy. (shrink)
Orientation -- Religion as a fact -- Religious values -- Religion as a philosophical problem -- Conceptions of God -- Ways of knowing God -- The problem of belief in God -- The problem of good-and-evil -- Theistic absolutism and finitism -- Is God finite? -- The problem of human personality -- The problem of human purpose -- The problem of human immortality -- The problem of religious experience -- Internal criticisms of religion -- External criticism of religion.
Process theology likes to compare itself favorably to what it calls classical theism. This book takes that comparison seriously and examines process theology's claim to do better than classical theism.
Wei-Bin Zhang offers an authoritative guide to the philosophy of Confucian regions, covering mainland China Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore. All, except Singapore, employed Confucianism as the state ideology before the West came to East Asia. The differences and similarities between the variety of Confucian schools are examined. The author concludes that the philosophical and ethical principles of Confucianism will assist in the industrialization and democratization of the region.
Contents: Preface; From faith to reason for fideism: Raymond Lull, Raimundus Sabundus and Michel de Montaigne; Nicholas of Cusa and Pythagorean theology; Giordano Bruno's philosophy of religion; Coluccio Salutati: hermeneutics of humanity; Humanism applied to language, logic and religion: Lorenzo Valla; Georgios Gemistos Plethon: from paganism to Christianity and back; Marsilio Ficino's philosophical theology; Giovanni Pico against popular Platonism; Tommaso Campanella: God makes sense in the world; Francisco Suárez – scholastic and Platonic ideas of God; Epilogue: conflicting truth claims; Bibliography; (...) Index. (shrink)
lecture 1. Religion and modernity -- lecture 2. From suspicion to the premodern cosmos -- lecture 3. From Catholicism to Protestantism -- lecture 4. Scientific revolution and Descartes -- lecture 5. Descartes and modern philosophy -- lecture 6. Enlightenment and religion -- lecture 7. Natural religion and its critics -- lecture 8. Kant-- religion and moral reason -- lecture 9. Kant, romanticism, and pietism -- lecture 10. Schleiermacher-- religion and experience -- lecture 11. Hegel-- religion, spirit, and history -- lecture (...) 12. Theology and the challenge of history. (shrink)
In recent years feminist scholarship has increasingly focused on the importance of the body and its representations in virtually every social, cultural, and intellectual context. Many have argued that because women are more closely identified with their bodies, they have access to privileged and different kinds of knowledge than men. In this landmark new book, Paula Cooey offers a different perspective on the significance of the body in the context of religious life and practice. Building on the pathbreaking work of (...) Elaine Scarry in The Body in Pain, Cooey looks at a wide range of evidence, from the Argentine prison narrative of Alicia Partnoy, to the novels of Toni Morrison and the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Drawing on current social theory and critique, cognitive psychology, contemporary fiction and art, and women's accounts of religious experience, Cooey relates the reality of sentience to the social construction of reality. Beginning with an examination of the female body as a metaphor for alternative knowledge, she considers the significance of physical pain and pleasure to the religious imagination, and the relations between sentience, sensuality, and female subjectivity. Cooey succeeds in bringing forward a sophisticated new understanding of the religious importance of the body, at the same time laying the foundations of a feminist theory of religion. (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)
From young children, with their guileless, searching questions, to the recently bereaved, trying to make sense of tragic loss, humans wrestle with our relationship to God--and with God's essence, motivations, and power--throughout our lives: Why does God permit catastrophe and senseless tragedy, again and again? Is God's power limited in any way? Can He change the past? Does He know the future? Why does God require prayer? Why does He not provide stronger evidence of His presence? Whom does God consign (...) to hell, and why? Does God change? Suffer? What can we make of the conflicting diversity within world religions, of the many gods of different religious traditions? Such questions engage, confront, and perplex us on a daily basis. In this rich, concise volume, leading philosophers who have long pondered God's nature and ways take on these core problems and present their findings in a manner likely to engage believer and non-believer, general reader and specialist alike. (shrink)