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Exploring the Philosophy of Religion / Edition 7

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Overview

Professor David Stewart called upon his 30 years of teaching experience to introduce readers to the important study of faith and reason. Beginning students often find primary sources alone too difficult so this text offers primary source materials by a variety of significant philosophers–including a balanced blend of classical and contemporary authors–but the materials are supported by clearly written introductions, which better prepare readers to understand the subject matter.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Twenty-eight readings introduce the philosophy of religion. Selections are drawn from classical and contemporary sources, representing Eastern and Western perspectives. Chapters concern the range of religious experience, the role of religion in life, human destiny, the arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, the relationship between faith and reason, and religious language. Stewart (Ohio University) offers a brief introduction to each section. A glossary is included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Booknews
Combines features of a textbook and a reader, offering students with a limited background in philosophy help in understanding readings from primary sources. The 28 readings were chosen as having a permanent place in the philosophy of religion, but are presented in no particular order. They cover religious experience, arguments for God's existence, faith and reason, religious language, evil, human destiny, and religion and life. Neither the glossary nor the biographical sketches includes pronunciation guides. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205645190
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/10/2009
  • Series: MySearchLab Series for Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 427,408
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Stewart received the Ph.D. from Rice University and has over thirty years experience teaching philosophy at Rice University, North Texas State University and Ohio University. In addition to Exploring the Philosophy of Religion, He is also co-author of Fundamentals of Philosophy (7th edition, Prentice Hall, 2010).

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

PREFACE

A new edition of a textbook provides the occasion for correcting some of the deficiencies of the former edition as well as responding to the needs of the book's users. I have incorporated suggestions of several reviewers by changing the order of the selections, beginning with the more "existential" topics and then going on to the more abstract issues. The first chapter, now entitled "The Varieties of Religious Experience" might have been headed the "phenomenon" of religion, though I feared that this would impose too great an expectation on the offerings of that section. The readings address the question of how the religious impulse arises, whether in religious experience, the feelings of the numinous, or the encounter with the Eternal Thou. Also, in an increasingly global marketplace both for the exchange of goods and services as well as the exchange of ideas, it seemed necessary to address the pluralistic nature of religious faith, and the new selection by John Hick—The Pluralistic Hypothesis—does precisely that.

The readings in the chapter on religion and human destiny also respond to readers' requests for more classic sources. New in this section are excerpts from Epicurus, Plato, and the New Testament. This return to classics is found also in the chapter detailing arguments for God's existence with selections from Paley on the design argument and Kant on the moral argument. In teaching this course I find that students are intensely interested in the divine attributes and with such questions as divine foreknowledge and human freedom. The new selection from J. S. Mill on the divine attributes provides an opportunity todiscuss this topic in the context of a theodicy derived solely from natural theology.

The following chapter dealing with faith and reason is supplemented by an extract from Paul Tillich's Dynamics of Faith detailing his view of faith as ultimate concern. This topic is not only important in showing a possible way of understanding faith but also in providing students with a vocabulary to discuss this important issue.

New to the chapter on religious language is Rosemary Ruether's important paper on The Female Nature of God. Coming at the end of the section analyzing the nonliteral use of language when speaking of the divine, this piece shows how our understanding of the divine nature can be enhanced by the feminine imagery found in traditional God talk. All the new readings in this edition respond to users' requests for lengthier selections with shorter introductory summaries.

This edition continues to include selections from Eastern as well as Western religious traditions and follows the general plan of this text to combine the best features of a text and a reader. The book attempts to provide both clear and understandable analysis, coupled with important primary-source readings. The topics chosen have a permanent place in the philosophy of religion, but users of the book do not need to use the chapters in the order in which they are presented here.

I am also indebted to David Bruce for his help with research, proofreading, and indexing. Immense support was given to this project by my Prentice Hall editors Karita France dos Santos and Ross Miller with additional support from Jennifer Ackerman and assistant editor Katie Janssen, without whose help this new edition would have been impossible.

David Stewart
Ohio University

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Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter One

The Varieties of Religious Experience

Introduction: Philosophy and Religion

Mystical Experience

Mysticism, William James

Intuitive Ways of Knowing

Personal Experience of God, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Critique of Mysticism

The Core of Religion, Walter Kaufmann

Varieties of Religious Understanding

The Pluralistic Hypothesis, John Hick

Retrospective: Religious Experience

Additional Sources

Chapter Two

Religion and Life

Introduction: Religion and Life

Life’s Goal Is to Obey God’s Will

Moral Obligation, William Paley

Life’s Goal Is to Achieve Greatness

The Joyful Wisdom, Friederich Nietzsche

Life Is Not Meaningful Without God

A Confession, Leo Tolstoy

Life Is Meaningful Without God

Ethics Without Religion, Kai Nielsen

Retrospective: Religion and Life

Additional Sources

Chapter Three

Religion and Human Destiny

Introduction: Religion and Death

The Immortality of the Soul

Phaedo, Plato

The Finality of Death

Letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus

The Hope for Resurrection

The Death of Death, NeilGillmann

Death in Buddhism

The Doctrine of No-Soul: Annata, Walpola Rahula

Retrospective: Religion and Death

Additional Sources

Chapter Four

Arguments for God’s Existence

Introduction: The Existence of God

The Ontological Argument

The Most Perfect Being, René Descartes

The Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument, William Lane Craig

The Design Argument

Natural Theology, William Paley

The Moral Argument

God and Moral Reasoning, Immanuel Kant

Retrospective: The Existence of God

Additional Sources

Chapter Five

The Problem of Evil

Introduction: God and Evil

Evil and the Power of God

Divine Omnipotence, C. S. Lewis

Theodicy in Process Thought

God in Process, David Ray Griffin

Karma and Evil

Karma in Hindu Thought, Wendy Doniger

The “Vale of Soul-Making Theodicy”

Evil and the God of Love, John Hick

Retrospective: God and Evil

Additional Sources

Chapter Six

Faith and Reason

Introduction: Opinion, Belief, Knowledge

Belief and Falsification

The Falsification Debate, Antony Flew, R. M. Hare, Basil Mitchell

Will and Belief

The Will to Believe, William James

No Rational Basis for Faith

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, David Hume

The Leap of Faith

Objective and Subjective Reflection, Søren Kierkegaard

Retrospective: Faith and Reason

Additional Sources

Chapter Seven

Religion and Current Issues

Religion and Government

A Letter Concerning Toleration, John Locke

Religion and Women

The Female Nature of God, Rosemary Ruether

Religion and World Origins

Creative Evolution, Henri Bergson

Religion and Human Origins

Life’s Dominions, Ronald Dworkin

Retrospective

Additional Sources

Biographical Summaries

Glossary

Index

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Preface

PREFACE:

PREFACE

A new edition of a textbook provides the occasion for correcting some of the deficiencies of the former edition as well as responding to the needs of the book's users. I have incorporated suggestions of several reviewers by changing the order of the selections, beginning with the more "existential" topics and then going on to the more abstract issues. The first chapter, now entitled "The Varieties of Religious Experience" might have been headed the "phenomenon" of religion, though I feared that this would impose too great an expectation on the offerings of that section. The readings address the question of how the religious impulse arises, whether in religious experience, the feelings of the numinous, or the encounter with the Eternal Thou. Also, in an increasingly global marketplace both for the exchange of goods and services as well as the exchange of ideas, it seemed necessary to address the pluralistic nature of religious faith, and the new selection by John Hick—The Pluralistic Hypothesis—does precisely that.

The readings in the chapter on religion and human destiny also respond to readers' requests for more classic sources. New in this section are excerpts from Epicurus, Plato, and the New Testament. This return to classics is found also in the chapter detailing arguments for God's existence with selections from Paley on the design argument and Kant on the moral argument. In teaching this course I find that students are intensely interested in the divine attributes and with such questions as divine foreknowledge and human freedom. The new selection from J. S. Mill on the divine attributes provides an opportunitytodiscuss this topic in the context of a theodicy derived solely from natural theology.

The following chapter dealing with faith and reason is supplemented by an extract from Paul Tillich's Dynamics of Faith detailing his view of faith as ultimate concern. This topic is not only important in showing a possible way of understanding faith but also in providing students with a vocabulary to discuss this important issue.

New to the chapter on religious language is Rosemary Ruether's important paper on The Female Nature of God. Coming at the end of the section analyzing the nonliteral use of language when speaking of the divine, this piece shows how our understanding of the divine nature can be enhanced by the feminine imagery found in traditional God talk. All the new readings in this edition respond to users' requests for lengthier selections with shorter introductory summaries.

This edition continues to include selections from Eastern as well as Western religious traditions and follows the general plan of this text to combine the best features of a text and a reader. The book attempts to provide both clear and understandable analysis, coupled with important primary-source readings. The topics chosen have a permanent place in the philosophy of religion, but users of the book do not need to use the chapters in the order in which they are presented here.

I am also indebted to David Bruce for his help with research, proofreading, and indexing. Immense support was given to this project by my Prentice Hall editors Karita France dos Santos and Ross Miller with additional support from Jennifer Ackerman and assistant editor Katie Janssen, without whose help this new edition would have been impossible.

David Stewart
Ohio University

Read More Show Less

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