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In a world of conflict in which religious differences play a significant role, reconciliation grows increasingly important. The Ministry of Reconciliation shows how with a spirituality of reconciliation we can create the spaces in which reconciliation can happen, and with human strategies, how the process of reconciliation can move forward.
From wide-ranging travels Schreiter has gained a profound wisdom and hope as well as the questions and struggles to be faced. In Part One, "Reconciliation as Spirituality, " Schreiter poses this key question: "If God did indeed raise Jesus up to a new life that breaks the grip of violence and sin on the world, what should be the concrete object of our hope?" Each of the next six chapters then meditates on post-Easter appearances as recorded in Scripture. Schreiter's explorations of such events as "the breakfast at the seashore" (John 21:1-17) and "what the women saw" (Mark 16:1-8; John 20:1-18) reveal a direct pastoral style reminiscent of Rahner and Barth at their best.
From this profound and hope-filled beginning Schreiter goes on to emphasize how a spirituality of reconciliation without sound social and theological reflection on its implementation will fail. Part Two, "Elements of a Strategy for Reconciliation, " tackles such vexing questions as individual and social responsibility; truth and justice; amnesty and pardon; and how the church can aid in reconciliation. Schreiter explores questions as: How can forgiveness happen? What is justice, and how should it be sought and administered? How can a society be rebuilt that includes the perpetrators of evil?
Eye-opening essays by Buddhist, Hindus, Jews, Muslims provide insights to how Christianity is viewed in their communities--and why.
Despite all the hype surrounding the "New Atheism," the United States remains one of the most religious nations on Earth. In fact, 95% of Americans believe in God-a level of agreement rarely seen in American life. The greatest divisions in America are not between atheists and believers, or even between people of different faiths. What divides us, this groundbreaking book shows, is how we conceive of God and the role He plays in our daily lives. America's Four Gods draws on the most wide-ranging, comprehensive, and illuminating survey of American's religious beliefs ever conducted to offer a systematic exploration of how Americans view God. Paul Froese and Christopher Bader argue that many of America's most intractable social and political divisions emerge from religious convictions that are deeply held but rarely openly discussed. Drawing upon original survey data from thousands of Americans and a wealth of in-depth interviews from all parts of the country, Froese and Bader trace America's cultural and political diversity to its ultimate source-differing opinions about God. They show that regardless of our religious tradition (or lack thereof), Americans worship four distinct types of God: The Authoritative God-who is both engaged in the world and judgmental; The Benevolent God-who loves and helps us in spite of our failings; The Critical God-who catalogs our sins but does not punish them (at least not in this life); and The Distant God-who stands apart from the world He created. The authors show that these four conceptions of God form the basis of our worldviews and are among the most powerful predictors of how we feel about the most contentious issues in American life. This updated edition includes a new preface and afterword in which the authors reflect on their goals in writing this book, and explore trends that have developed since the initial publication. America's Four Gods provides an invaluable portrait of how we view God and therefore how we view virtually everything else.
Egypt is considered the intellectual birthplace of the modern Islamic movements and is a center of contemporary Islamic thought and culture. It is also home to one of the oldest Christian populations in the world. In this book, Peter Makari considers the role of governmental and nongovernmental actors in conflict resolution and the promotion of positive Christian-Muslim relations in Egypt. He maintains that, prevailing opinions notwithstanding, the last quarter-century has witnessed a high level of interreligious cooperation and tolerance. Relying heavily on Arabic sources, Makari examines the rhetoric and actions of official governmental and religious institutions, as well as civil society actors. Combining empirical research with an informed theoretical perspective, this work offers a perspective seldom available to the English reader on questions of tolerance, citizenship, and civil society in this part of the Arab world.
He demonstrates that Ashkenazic Jewish culture was profoundly shaped and conditioned by life in an overwhelmingly Christian society. Drawing on diverse Christian documents, he portrays Christian beliefs about medieval Jews and Judaism with a degree of detail seldom found in Jewish historics. Emphasizing social, political, and economic history, but also duscussing religious topics, Glick describes the evolution of a complex, inherently unequal relationship. Because the Ashkenazic Jews of medieval Europe were ancestral to almost the entire Jewish population of eastern Europe, their historical experience played a major role in the heritage of most Jewish Americans.
Joseph Smith, Jr, founder of the Mormon movement, and George J Adams, one of his least known followers -- two Gentile dreamers of Zion -- were instrumental in encouraging Jews and Christians to support the restoration of Israel. For Joseph Smith, Jewish responsibility for establishing Zion had not been forfeited or terminated. It was continuous: the Jews would return as Jews; they would rebuild Jerusalem as Jews. In his view, neither the denigration of Jews, so often characteristic of Christianity, nor supersession by the Church, was tenable. According to Josephs perception of the Scriptures, and his own prophetic insights, there are to be two strategic centres -- Zion at historical Jerusalem, and Zion in a New Jerusalem in the heartland of America. He believed that a renewed Israel and a church, restored to its primal purpose, shared a mandate to body forth in society the dream of the Kingdom of God. He called this dream the cause of Zion, which became a major emphasis of the Mormon movement. Adams, separated from the Mormons following the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844, founded his own Church of the Messiah. Most of his congregations were in Maine, where he readied his followers for a mission as the "Children of Ephraim", which he explicated with persuasive skill from the Old Testament. Later he led 156 of his followers to found an agricultural and commercial colony in Jaffa, Israel. This book explains the rejection by Smith and Adams of "normal" Christian replacement theology and sets out the apologetics by which Smith and Adams promoted courage and conviction in all who joined them in encouraging the in-gathering of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem.
In this major theoretical and methodological statement on the
history of religions, Jonathan Z. Smith shows how convert
apologetic agendas can dictate the course of comparative religious
studies. As his example, Smith reviews four centuries of
scholarship comparing early Christianities with religions of late
Antiquity (especially the so-called mystery cults) and shows how
this scholarship has been based upon an underlying
Protestant-Catholic polemic. The result is a devastating critique
of traditional New Testament scholarship, a redescription of early
Christianities as religious traditions amenable to comparison, and
a milestone in Smith's controversial approach to comparative
Kung joins with three esteemed colleagues to address the question: "Can we break through the barriers of noncommunication, fear, and mistrust that separate the followers of the world's great religions?" The authors analyze the main lines of approach taken by Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, and give Christian responses to the values and challenges each tradition presents.
Religion posits one characteristic as an absolute: faith. Compared to faith, all other social distinctions and sources of conflict are insignificant. The New Testament says: 'We are all equal in the sight of God'. To be sure, this equality applies only to those who acknowledge God's existence. What this means is that alongside the abolition of class and nation within the community of believers, religion introduces a new fundamental distinction into the world the distinction between the right kind of believers and the wrong kind. Thus overtly or tacitly, religion brings with it the demonization of believers in other faiths.
The central question that will decide the continued existence of humanity is this: How can we conceive of a type of inter-religious tolerance in which loving one's neighbor does not imply war to the death, a type of tolerance whose goal is not truth but peace?
Is what we are experiencing at present a regression of monotheistic religion to a polytheism of the religious spirit under the heading of 'a God of one's own'? In Western societies, where the autonomy of the individual has been internalized, individual human beings tend to feel increasingly at liberty to tell themselves little faith stories that fit their own lives to appoint 'Gods of their own'. However, this God oftheir own is no longer the one and only God who presides over salvation by seizing control of history and empowering his followers to be intolerant and use naked force.
An honest discussion regarding how devout Christians should react to the academic evidence and genuine personal experience that other religious ways result in engaged, loving and moral lives. Does being "saved," by the Christian definition, require a faith in Jesus Christ - meaning the historical person - or rather is it only important that human beings life their lives in accordance to His teachings. This books argues that one can be committed to a savior of "some other name," and simultaneously be aligned with Christian theologically and commitment.
One of the world's foremost exponents of the "pluralist" position as the most adequate Christian theological account of religious diversity turns to a new and urgent issue facing the community of world religions. For Paul Knitter, the spectre of environmental and social injustice looms over any serious discussion of humankind's future. As urgent as it is to have peace among the world's believers to achieve peace among nations, it is urgent that these communities unite in understanding and defending of the earth. In One Earth Many Religions Knitter looks back at his own "dialogical odyssey" and forward to the way that interfaith encounters and dialogue must focus attention on new challenges. Nothing less than enlisting the commitment of the world's religions on the task of saving our common home will do. In making that case, Knitter makes clear the complex structurespolitical, economic, and social as well as religious - that face those who approach this task. While articulating a "this-worldly soteriology" necessary to overcome our eco-human plight, Knitter offers practical considerations on actions and projects that have and should have been undertaken to stem the tide of environmental and human suffering. The global crisis is both at the center of One Earth Many Religions and a test case for Knitter and others engaged in the dialogue of religions. Can religious differences concerning the nature of the transcendent themselves be transcended in order to promote eco-human well-being? The issue seems basic and clearif interreligious dialogue cannot effect such a change, then one must question whether religion is of any use whatsoever.
The tragic events in America on September 11th 2001 and the continuing saga of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East have served to focus world attention on Islam and the nature and origin of Islamic belief. While some Islamic leaders condemn such attacks as contradicting the teaching of Islam, some Muslim politicians praise them as an obligation on every Muslim to kill the unbelievers. This difference in view shows that two forms of Islam exist now in the Middle East: a religious one, and a political one. Political Islam calls for Jihad to fight the enemy, who they identify as their local rulers as well as Israel and the United States. With the spread of Political Islam, the original Islamic teaching, established by the Kuran, seems to have been forgotten. Muhammad confirmed Islam was not a new religion, but an old one, from the time of Abraham. It relies on the monotheistic teaching of Moses and the Christian belief of the resurrection. This concise, erudite account of the background to today's present conflicts is required reading.
In the online world, people argue about anything and everything - religion is no exception. Stephen Pihlaja investigates how several prominent social media figures present views about religion in an environment where their positions are challenged. The analysis shows how conflict creates a space for users to share, explain, and develop their opinions and beliefs, by making appeals to both a core audience of like-minded viewers and a broader audience of viewers who are potentially interested in the claims, ambivalent, or openly hostile. The book argues that in the back-and-forth of these arguments, the positions that users take in response to the arguments of others have consequences for how religious talk develops, and potentially for how people understand and practice their beliefs in the twenty-first century. Based on original empirical research, it addresses long-debated questions in sociolinguistics and discourse analysis regarding the role of language in building solidarity, defining identity and establishing genres and registers of interaction.
For more than a century Christian theologians have attempted to construct "theologies of religion" that would be recognized as authentically Christian and authentic in relation to the historical and social reality of many religions. This attempt usually ends in an impasse in which either only one religion is portrayed as holding the true path to salvation, or that many do. Neither the exclusivist nor the pluralist position is completely satisfactory in integrating the two goals of an authentically Christian and historically viable theology of religions. In calling this book Salvations author S. Mark Heim moves the theology of religions project beyond taking sides on exclusivist and pluralist views. The crux of his argument is this: that it makes more sense to speak of salvation in the plural, to maintain that the ends of various religions are indeed varied and significantly constituted by the paths taken to reach them. At the same time, all paths - Christianity included - can and must make or require exclusive commitments on the part of those that hold them. One of the most intriguing features of Salvations is its careful critique of the pluralist assumption of a single religious end to the many religions. Heim's careful analysis of the writings of John Hick, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, and Paul Knitter points out a central weakness in the pluralist argument: by insisting that different religions point to the same "ultimate, " pluralism fails its own test of plurality. Heim points out that exclusivists should note that in hypothesizing the many ends of different religions, Salvations contradicts neither the finality of Christ, nor the authentic, independent validity of other religions.
The story of Saint Josaphat, a prince who gave up his wealth and kingdom to follow Jesus, was one of the most popular Christian tales of the Middle Ages, translated into a dozen languages, and cited by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice. Yet Josaphat is only remembered today because of the similarities of his life to that of the Buddha. In Search of the Christian Buddha is set against the backdrop of the trade along the Silk Road, the Christian settlement of Palestine, the spread of Islam, and the Crusades. It traces the path of the Buddha's tale from India and shows how it evolved, adopting details from each culture during its sojourn. These early instances of globalization allowed not only goods but also knowledge to flow between different cultures and around much of the world. Eminent scholars Donald S. Lopez Jr. and Peggy McCracken reveal how religions born thousands of miles apart shared ideas throughout the centuries. They uncover surprising convergences and divergences between these faiths on subjects including the meaning of death, the problem of desire, and their view of women. Demonstrating the incredible power of this tale, they ask not how stories circulate among religions but how religions circulate among stories.
"Flawless . . . [Makdisi] reminds us of the critical declarations of secularism which existed in the history of the Middle East."-Robert Fisk, The Independent Today's headlines paint the Middle East as a collection of war-torn countries and extremist groups consumed by sectarian rage. Ussama Makdisi's Age of Coexistence reveals a hidden and hopeful story that counters this cliched portrayal. It shows how a region rich with ethnic and religious diversity created a modern culture of coexistence amid Ottoman reformation, European colonialism, and the emergence of nationalism. Moving from the nineteenth century to the present, this groundbreaking book explores, without denial or equivocation, the politics of pluralism during the Ottoman Empire and in the post-Ottoman Arab world. Rather than judging the Arab world as a place of age-old sectarian animosities, Age of Coexistence describes the forging of a complex system of coexistence, what Makdisi calls the "ecumenical frame." He argues that new forms of antisectarian politics, and some of the most important examples of Muslim-Christian political collaboration, crystallized to make and define the modern Arab world. Despite massive challenges and setbacks, and despite the persistence of colonialism and authoritarianism, this framework for coexistence has endured for nearly a century. It is a reminder that religious diversity does not automatically lead to sectarianism. Instead, as Makdisi demonstrates, people of different faiths, but not necessarily of different political outlooks, have consistently tried to build modern societies that transcend religious and sectarian differences.
Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God. In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem. This book is a rebuke to all those who kill in the name of the God of life, wage war in the name of the God of peace, hate in the name of the God of love, and practise cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. For the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare: Not In God's Name.
"From the Sabbath to circumcision, from Hanukkah to the Holocaust, from bar mitzvah to bagel, how do Jewish religion, history, holidays, lifestyles, and culture make Jews different, and why is that difference so distinctive that we carry it from birth to the grave?" This accessible introduction to Judaism and Jewish life is especially for Christian readers interested in the deep connections and distinct differences between their faith and Judaism, but it is also for Jews looking for ways to understand their religion--and explain it to others. First released in 2002 and now in an updated edition.
In Where the Edge Gathers, Flunder uses examples of persons most marginalized by church and society to illustrate the use of "village ethics"--knowing where the boundaries are when all things are exposed--and "village theology"--giving everyone a seat at the central meeting place or welcome table. She focuses on the following marginalized groups: 1) samesex couples, to convey the need to re-examine sexual and relational ethics; 2) transgendered persons, to illustrate the importance of radical inclusivity; 3) and gay persons living with AIDS, to emphasize the need to de-stigmatize society's view of any group of people. The book, which combines both Flunder's personal experiences with marginalized people and theological and pastoral literature on the topic, will appeal to denominational leaders and clergy who minister to the marginalized and/or the inner city.
Under what conditions does in-group pride facilitate out-group tolerance? What are the causal linkages between intergroup tolerance and socialization in religious rituals? This book examines how Muslims from Russia's North Caucuses returned from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca both more devout as Muslims and more tolerant of out-groups. Drawing on prominent theories of identity and social capital, the authors resolve seeming contradictions between the two literatures by showing the effects of religious rituals that highlight within-group diversity at the same time that they affirm the group's common identity. This theory is then applied to explain why social integration of Muslim immigrants has been more successful in the USA than in Europe and how the largest Hispanic association in the US defied the clash of civilizations theory by promoting immigrants' integration into America's social mainstream. The book offers insights into Islam's role in society and politics and the interrelationships between religious faith, immigration and ethnic identity, and tolerance that will be relevant to both scholars and practitioners.
Western Christians in the twentieth century viewed Islam through a lens of social and political concerns that would have appeared novel to their medieval and early-modern predecessors. Concerns about the predicament of secular 'modernity' infused Christian discourse with distinct assumptions that shaped engagement with Islam in fundamentally new ways. J. N. D. (Norman) Anderson (1908-94), a highly influential British Christian scholar of Islam, embodied this new orientation in his commitment to 'modernise' Islam. Anderson's engagement with Islam as a missionary, intelligence agent, scholar of Islamic law and advisor to various Muslim governments, spanned multiple decades and continents. As well as shaping Western understandings of Islamic law and its application, he was involved in debates about the end of the British Empire and the transformation of Christian missions following formal decolonisation. Because of Anderson's location at the intersection of so many different debates concerning Islam, his life provides unique insights into the ways in which Christians reconfigured their response to Islam in the last century. Given Christianity's continued influence on British and American ideas about Islam, this study provides crucial insight into the persistent focus on 'modernising' and 'secularising' Islam today.
Many observers greeted the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) as the most important religious event in the twentieth century. Its implementation and impact are still being felt in the Catholic Church, the wider Christian world, and beyond. One sea change that Vatican II brought concerned Roman Catholic attitudes towards Judaism, Islam, and other religions. Gerald O'Collins breaks fresh ground by examining in detail five documents from the Council which embodied a new mind set about other religious faiths and mandated changes that quickly led to international and national dialogues between the Catholic Church and the followers of non-Christian religions. The book also includes chapters on the insights that prepared the way for the re-thinking expressed by Vatican II, and on the follow-up to the Council's teaching found in the work of Pope John Paul II and Jacques Dupuis. O'Collins ably illustrates how the Council made a startling advance in official Catholic teaching about followers of other living faiths. Carefully researched, the book is written in the clear, accessible style that readers of previous works by O'Collins will recognize.
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