Exploring the Philosophy of Religion / Edition 6

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Overview

The text offers a rich, yet approachable, introduction to philosophy of religion for the beginning student that is distinguished by the following special features:

  • Introductions that help prepare students for meaningful discussion of the readings
  • Appealing mixture of classical and contemporary authors from Plato, Descartes, Kant, Paley, and Kierkegaard to contemporary thinkers such as John Hick, Richard Taylor, David Ray Griffin, and Paul Ricoeur.
  • Consideration of issues from both Western and Eastern perspectives
  • Discussion of process thought, often omitted from introductory texts

New to this edition are readings on religious pluralism by John Hick, a compelling analysis of God's female nature by Rosemary Ruether, and such classic readings as Paul Tillich on faith as ultimate concern, Kant's moral argument for God's existence, John Stuart Mill's analysis of the limits of natural theology, and the contrast in ancient Greek thought between Plato and Epicurus on death and human destiny and its difference from the early Christian view.

The book couples clear and understandable analysis with important primary-source readings on topics that have a permanent place in the philosophy of religion.

Also of Interest

Fundamentals of Philosophy, 5th edition by David Stewart and H. Gene Blocker
An accessible reader/text for beginning students of philosophy that offers a broad scope and diversity of classic and contemporary selections with introductions that present difficult issues in an understandable manner.

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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: 9780131947238
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.88 (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 to the Fourth Edition
Ch. 1 Religious Experience 1
Introduction: Philosophy and Religion 1
Mystical Experience 6
Mysticism 10
The Experience of the Holy 17
The Idea of the Holy 21
The Experience of the Eternal Thou 30
I and Thou 34
Intuitive Ways of Knowing 38
Intuition and Intellect 39
Ch. 2 Arguments for God's Existence 45
Introduction: The Existence of God 45
The Ontological Argument 50
The Most Perfect Being 55
The Cosmological Arguments 59
The Argument from Contingency 64
The Design Argument 74
The Argument from Design 77
The Moral Argument 82
The Argument from Morality 85
Ch. 3 Faith and Reason 93
Introduction: Opinion, Belief, and Knowledge 93
Belief and Falsification 99
The Falsification Debate 103
The Logic of Belief 113
On Obstinancy in Belief 117
Truth Is Subjectivity 126
Objective and Subjective Reflection 130
Will and Belief 135
The Will to Believe 142
Ch. 4 Religious Language 156
Introduction: Religion and Language 156
The Verification of Religious Language 159
A Discussion on Religious Language 163
Models for Theological Discourse 174
Talking of God: Models, Ancient and Modern 178
The Metaphorical Use of Language 189
The Metaphorical Process 192
Religious Language and Gender 201
Beyond God the Father 203
Ch. 5 The Problem of Evil 211
Introduction: God and Evil 211
The "Vale of Soul-Making" Theodicy 218
Evil and the God of Love 221
Evil and the Power of God 228
Divine Omnipotence 231
Theodicy in Process Thought 238
God in Process 241
Karma and Evil 249
Karma in Hindu Thought 251
Ch. 6 Religion and Human Destiny 259
Introduction: Religion and Death 259
The Finality of Death 263
Do We Survive Death? 265
Jewish Reflections on Death 269
The World Beyond the Grave 274
Immortality and Resurrection 279
Human Destiny: Immortality and Resurrection 282
Death in Buddhism 292
The Doctrine of No-Soul: Anatta 294
Ch. 7 Religion and Life 301
Introduction: Religion and Life 301
Life's Goal Is to Obey God's Will 305
Moral Obligation 307
Life's Goal Is to Achieve Greatness 310
The Joyful Wisdom 313
To Know God Is to Live 316
A Confession 317
A World Without God 324
Reality and God 326
Biographical Summaries 334
Glossary 337
Index 343
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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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