Religion in an Age of Doubt

Religion in an Age of Doubt



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Religion in an Age of Doubt by Charles J. Shebbeare

This book forms one of the "Library of Historic Theology" edited by Rev. Wm. C. Piercy, M.A. The object of the series is to focus the results of specialized research in their bearing on the "Faith." The present volume deals with Christian Apologetic, and carries out strenuously the ideal of the series with respect to that subject. In the preface the author guards himself against a possible criticism which might suggest the futility of attempting to deal with far-reaching subjects such as "Evangelicalism" or the "Trinity" in single short chapters. But such criticism would fail of its mark, because the author quite adequately deals with the aspects of these topics which are relative to his purpose. Perhaps the last two chapters, entitled "The Task of the Future" and "The Parting of the Ways," might be considered more vulnerable.

Mr. Shebbeare's starting point lies in that sense of Duty and of Guilt to be found even in an "Age of Doubt"; and that gives the keynote of his purpose throughout. Founding on Kantian ethical doctrine he exhibits the ideas of guilt and duty in common consciousness, and then proceeds to give a short summary of the methods of deliverance from guilt in Buddhism and Judaism, and of the moral aspects of the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith. Two chapters on "Christ" and the " Historical Jesus" following a similar non-doctrinal method, emphasize the power of Christianity to deliver from the sense of guilt, provided that the purely ethical attitude has passed into the religious. When the author turns to the " schools of personal piety" to find how this transition is described as being in practice attained, he argues that analysis of the spiritual experience involved shows that it is not necessarily tied down to its particular doctrinal associations. To the question which then arises whether such religious phenomena can be stated in terms of theology, the author adopts the Ritschlian answer, as he has already done on the point whether the ultimate basis of doctrine is personal experience or supernatural revelation. Yet he cannot follow Ritschl in the entire separation of the spheres of religious and of scientific knowledge. For example, in treating of the doctrine of the Trinity, Mr. Shebbeare deals with the deity of the Son and of the Spirit as given in religious experience, while on the other hand that of the Creator in his world relations he refers to a theological inference. And for this latter purpose he uses the "design" argument; his criticism and restatement of that are valuable. The author has set before himself an ideal of apologetic which shall attempt alike the evaluation of moral, religious, and theological factors; and his acute working out of the analysis implied is a feature of his book.

-Review of Theology & Philosophy, Vol. 10 [1915]

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781530790722
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 03/28/2016
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

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