The Big Questions in Science and Religion / Edition 1

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Can religious beliefs survive in the scientific age? Are they resoundingly outdated? Or is there something in them of great importance, even if the way they are expressed will have to change in the new scientific context? These questions are among those at the core of the sciencereligion dialogue.

In The Big Questions in Science and Religion, Keith Ward, an Anglican minister who was once an atheist, offers compelling insights into the often contentious relationship between diverse religious views and new scientific knowledge. He identifies ten basic questions about the nature of the universe and human life. Among these are

Does the universe have a goal or purpose?
Do the laws of nature exclude miracles?
Can science provide a wholly naturalistic explanation for moral and religious beliefs?
Has science made belief in God obsolete? Are there any good sciencebased arguments for God?

With his expertise in the study of world religions, Ward considers concepts from Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity, while featuring the speculations of cosmologists, physicians, mathematicians, and philosophers. In addition, Ward examines the implications of ancient laws and modern theories and evaluates the role of religious experience as evidence of a nonphysical reality.

Writing with enthusiasm, passion and clarity, Keith Ward conveys the depth, difficulty, intellectual excitement and importance of the greatest intellectual and existential questions of the modern scientific age. The diversity of views provides the general reader as well as opinion leaders with unbiased information in the sciencereligion field.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Ward, an Oxford theologian specializing in the history and philosophy of religion, presents an impressively insightful and well-balanced survey of major questions for science-and-religion dialogue. Ward takes on a wide range of topics, reasoning that if God is "the ultimate cause of absolutely everything—we might think that the existence of God must make some difference to how things are." The beginning and end of the universe, the origins and nature of consciousness, and human religious experience all become contact points for discussion between scientific and religious perspectives. Writing as a scholar of world religions, Ward discusses multiple traditions at a level of depth and detail that exceeds the normal standards of the science and religion literature. Atheist and agnostic perspectives also receive a fair hearing, recognized as parties to the conversation rather than merely as rhetorical foils. Throughout, Ward shows a keen ability to recognize variations and distinctions within traditions, while still drawing helpful generalizations such as his conclusion that "to believe in God is primarily to believe in the objectivity of value and purpose." (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599471358
  • Publisher: Templeton Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2008
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 896,979
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Keith Ward is a fellow of the British Academy, the Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus at the University of Oxford, an ordained priest of the Church of England, and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy. He holds doctorates of divinity from Cambridge and Oxford. He has been a university lecturer at the Universities of Glasgow, St. Andrews, Cambridge, and London, where he was professor or history and philosophy of religion. The author of more than twenty highly acclaimed books, Ward is particularly interested in comparative theology and the interplay between science and religion. Keith Ward lives in Oxford, England.
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Table of Contents

Introduction     3
How Did the Universe Begin?: (Is There an Ultimate Explanation for the Universe?)     7
How Will the Universe End?: (Does the Universe Have a Goal or Purpose?)     34
Is Evolution Compatible with Creation?: (How Can the "Cruelty and Waste" of Evolution Be Reconciled with Creation by a Good God?)     59
Do the Laws of Nature Exclude Miracles?: (Are the Laws of Nature Absolute?)     83
What Is the Nature of Space and Time?: (In What Sense Can Temporal Actions Be Free?)     107
Is It Still Possible to Speak of the Soul?: (Does Science Allow the Possibility of Life after Death?)     134
Is Science the Only Sure Path to Truth?: (Can Religious Experience Count as Evidence?)     162
Can Science Provide a Wholly Naturalistic Explanation for Moral and Religious Beliefs?: (How Does Morality Relate to Religion?)     191
Has Science Made Belief in God Obsolete?: (Are There Any Good Science-based Arguments for God?)     216
Does Science Allow for Revelation and Divine Action?: (Does Quantum Physics Put Materialism in Question?)     244
References     272
Index     277
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