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By Peter and Charlotte VARDY
This book counts for the following Reading Challenge:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
At a time when religion tends to disappear from the public sphere, the authors invite here to put again God at the center of reflection on man, truth, and the world. Their book is intended for students in philosophy or theology and anyone taking the time to think. The emphasis is on an accurate use of terms (religion , faith, belief) and the different approach to every facet of this issue in Christian and even pre-Christian centuries. A lot examples are provided, from the great masters of Hindu, Muslim and Jewish wisdom for example, from Christian spirituality, philosophy (from the first philosophers to Alvin Plantinga in particular, often quoted), from psychology, science and the world of arts (literature, cinema). Many quotes, sometimes quite long, come from modern and contemporary Protestant authors. The approach, very clear, intends to be very systematic and objective. Even topics such as miracles and near-death experiences are discussed. Each chapter ends with an excellent summary. One limit to the book: as for the world of Christian liturgy, only the West is taken into account, and the Eastern Christian centuries are completely ignored.
VERDICT: This is a good view of the topic if you need a refresher.
Growing awareness of the inadequacy of religion should make God matter more, not less. “Religion” is not the same as God.
God can be another way of saying “objective truth”, contemplating God a way of reflecting on the implications of reality existing independently of how we human beings see things.
To believe in is an attitude which requires that one’s whole being changes.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
Perhaps human beings are animals, driven by the will to survive and reproduce, perhaps responsibility is a useful fiction and religion is the opium of the masses. Perhaps death is the end, life is ultimately meaningless, brutish and short. Perhaps man is the measure of all things and beauty, truth and justice are open to interpretation. Or, perhaps not. God matters. The choice over whether and what to believe is inescapable because it determines how we live our lives. Nothing matters more. This book encourages and enables students and general readers to ask fundamental questions about the nature and meaning of human life in an open, engaging but academically rigorous way. Centuries of scholarship in the Philosophy of Religion, from Jewish and Muslim as well as Christian traditions, are put in context and critically evaluated. Examples from art, film, and literature show the contemporary relevance of debates which have raged throughout human history. www.what-matters.org provides recommendations for further reading, a rich anthology of primary texts, questions for discussion and related activities. [Goodreads]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Peter Vardy (born 1945) is a British academic, philosopher, theologian and author.
Since 1999 he has held the post of Vice Principal at Heythrop College, London.
Vardy was originally a chartered accountant before becoming an academic.
He holds a Masters Degree in Theology (with distinction) and a Ph.D (on ‘The Concept of Eternity’) from King’s College London and has lectured in Philosophy of Religion at King’s and also at the Institute of Education, London on their Masters Degree in Education program.