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Religion and Human Nature


Religion and Human Nature

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    Available in PDF Format | Religion and Human Nature.pdf | English
    Keith Ward(Author)
Continuing Keith Ward's series on comparative religion, this book deals with religious views of human nature and destiny.The beliefs of six major traditions are presented: the view of Advaita Vedanta that there is one Supreme Self, unfolding into the illusion of individual existence; the Vaishnava belief that there is an infinite number of souls, whose destiny is to be released from material embodiment; the Buddhist view that there is no eternal Self; the Abrahamic belief that persons are essentially embodied souls; and the materialistic position that persons are complex material organisms.

Indian ideas of rebirth, karma, and liberation from samsara are critically analysed and compared with semitic belief in the intermediate state of Sheol, Purgatory or Paradise, the Final Judgement and the resurrection of the body. The impact of scientific theories of cosmic and biological evolution on religious beliefs is assessed, and a form of 'soft emergent materialism' is defended, with regard to the soul.In this context, a Christian doctrine of original sin and atonement is presented, stressing the idea of soterial, as opposed to forensic, justice.Finally, a Christian view of personal immortality and the 'end of all things' is developed in conversation with Jewish and Muslim beliefs about judgement and resurrection.

a project in several volumes that is systematic in its coverage of belief ... remarkable project ... Ward engages critically with a range of sources ... Ward presents a persuasive picture of the physical universe as 'an expression of the mind and heart of God' ... he has illuminated a range of difficult issues where Christians, including theologians, feel particularly unsure ... The three volumes so far published are a remarkable achievement and seal Keith Ward's reputation as the most productive and constructive theologian writing in English today. (Paul Avis, Anglican Theological Review, LXXXII:1)truly a work of comparative theology, weaving in and out of the different traditions ... a penetrating analysis of many of those facile doctrines which now dominate our ontological discourse ... This is a well-written, fascinating and provocative study. It covers a wide spectrum of Christian theology and deals thoughtfully in its engagement with the increasingly fraught public conversation about what it is to be human ... his book merits serious study, not only by Christians but by anyone interested in what monotheism has to say about human nature at the beginning of the 21st century. (James C Conroy, Global Dialogue, Winter 2000)

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Book details

  • PDF | 344 pages
  • Keith Ward(Author)
  • OUP Oxford (19 Nov. 1998)
  • English
  • 10
  • Religion & Spirituality
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