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We are living through a period of cultural climate change. We have outsourced morality to the markets on the one hand, and the state on the other. The markets have brought wealth to many, and the state has done much to contain the worst excesses of inequality, but neither is capable of bearing the moral weight of showing us how to live.
This has had a profound impact on society and the way in which we interact with each other. Traditional values no longer hold, yet recent political swings show that modern ideals of tolerance have left many feeling rudderless and adrift. In this environment we see things fall apart in unexpected ways - toxic public discourse makes true societal progress almost unattainable, a more divisive society is fuelled by identity politics and extremism, and the rise of a victimhood mentality calls for 'safe spaces' but stifles debate. The influence of social media seems all-pervading and the breakdown of the family is only one result of the loss of social capital. Many fear what the future may hold.
Delivering a devastatingly insightful critique of our modern condition, and assessing its roots and causes from the ancient Greeks through the Reformation and Enlightenment to the present day, Sacks argues that there is no liberty without morality, and no freedom without responsibility.
If we care about the future of western civilisation, all of us must play our part in rebuilding our common moral foundation. Then we will discover afresh the life-transforming and counterintuitive truths that a nation is strong when it cares for the weak, and rich when it cares for the poor.
Here is an inspiring vision of a world in which we can all find our place, and face the future without fear.
A hugely topical collection of essays from a cross-disciplinary group of leading academics focussing on the implications for an understanding of human identity in light of the current possibilities in medical science. The book brings together an international body of medical experts alongside philosophers, sociologists, theologians and ethicists in order to discuss these vital issues.
The ensuing discussion will allow public debate to be more informed about the actual possibilities inherent in medical science, alongside a sophisticated treatment of ethical and theological issues. The result is a focused collection of essays that raises new and challenging questions.
In our age of globalisation and pandemic, how should we react to the new Islamophobic movements now spreading in the West? Everywhere the far right is on the march, with nationalist and populist parties thriving on the back of popular anxieties about Islam and the Muslim presence. Hijab and minaret bans, mosque shootings, hostility to migrants and increasingly scornful media stereotypes seem to endanger the prospects for friendly coexistence and the calm uplifting of Muslim populations. In this series of essays Abdal Hakim Murad dissects the rise of Islamophobia on the basis of Muslim theological tradition. Although the proper response to the current impasse is clearly indicated in Qur'an and Hadith, some have lost the principle of trust in divine wisdom and are responding with hatred, fearfulness or despair. Murad shows that a compassion-based approach, rooted in an authentic theology of divine power, could transform the current quagmire into a bright landscape of great promise for Muslims and their neighbours.
God is unbounded. God became flesh. While these two assertions are equally viable parts of Western Christian religious heritage, they stand in tension with one another. Fearful of reducing God's majesty with shallow anthropomorphisms, philosophy and religion affirm that God, as an eternal being, stands wholly apart from creation. Yet the legacy of the incarnation complicates this view of the incorporeal divine, affirming a very different image of God in physical embodiment. While for many today the idea of an embodied God seems simplisticaeven pedestrianaChristoph Markschies reveals that in antiquity, the educated and uneducated alike subscribed to this very idea. More surprisingly, the idea that God had a body was held by both polytheists and monotheists. Platonic misgivings about divine corporeality entered the church early on, but it was only with the advent of medieval scholasticism that the idea that God has a body became scandalous, an idea still lingering today. In God's Body Markschies traces the shape of the divine form in late antiquity. This exploration follows the development of ideas of God's corporeality in Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions. In antiquity, gods were often like humans, which proved to be important for philosophical reflection and for worship. Markschies considers how a cultic environment nurtured, and transformed, Jewish and Christian descriptions of the divine, as well as how philosophical debates over the connection of body and soul in humanity provided a conceptual framework for imagining God. Markschies probes the connections between this lively culture of religious practice and philosophical speculation and the christological formulations of the church to discover how the dichotomy of an incarnate God and a fleshless God came to be. By studying the religious and cultural past, Markschies reveals a Jewish and Christian heritage alien to modern sensibilities, as well as a God who is less alien to the human experience than much of Western thought has imagined. Since the almighty God who made all creation has also lived in that creation, the biblical idea of humankind as image of God should be taken seriously and not restricted to the conceptual world but rather applied to the whole person.
The malign figure of the Antichrist endures in modern culture, whether religious or secular; and the spectral shadow he has cast over the ages continues to exert a strong and powerful fascination. Philip C. Almond tells the story of the son of Satan from his early beginnings to the present day, and explores this false Messiah in theology, literature and the history of ideas. Discussing the origins of the malevolent being who at different times was cursed as Belial, Nero or Damien, the author reveals how Christianity in both East and West has imagined this incarnation of absolute evil destined to appear at the end of time. For the better part of the last two thousand years, Almond suggests, the human battle between right and wrong has been envisaged as a mighty cosmic duel between good and its opposite, culminating in an epic final showdown between Christ and his deadly arch-nemesis.
Ever since its composition in the ninth century, the use of the Veni Creator in the liturgy of Pentecost and in Christian assemblies has been constant, as one continuous, solemn invocation of the Paraclete. Its language, however, is far removed from theological discourse but inspired by symbol, image and song, by poetry and liturgy, by prophecy and living models of holiness. The author is one of the foremost specialists in the theology of the Spirit. He has the master’s art of drawing the reader by communicating his own enthusiasm for the Holy Spirit.
Die bundel bevat artikels oor geloof en kerk in veranderende kontekste. Bydraes is deur teoloë van die Universiteit van Suid-Afrika en die Protestantse Teologiese Universiteit in Nederland gelewer en is die resultaat van samewerking tussen die twee universiteite op die gebied van praktiese en sistematiese teologie.
Die fokus is op die verantwoordelikheid van die kerk teenoor armes, die aard en wese van die kerk, die Christelik Godsbegrip en die wyse waarop oor God in die prediking gedink en gepraat word. Van die boeiende bydraes is ’n vergelyking tussen armoede in Suid-Afrika en Nederland, verhale oor die wyse waarop regstellende aksie en werkloosheid Suid-Afrikaners se geloofsbelewenis raak en besinning oor die proses van kerkvereniging in die NG Kerk-familie.
Daar is ook hoofstukke oor prediking en liturgie as uitdrukking van nadenke oor God en maniere waarop tot God gepraat word. Die wye verskeidenheid invalshoeke en onderwerpe maak van hierdie boek ’n interessante leeservaring vir sowel gewone lidmate as predikante en akademici.
Ten spyte daarvan dat die Bybel eeue oud is, lees miljoene mense wereldwyd uit verskillende taal- en kultuurgroepe dit steeds met die verwagting om iets daarin te vind wat vir hulle persoonlike en spirituele lewe van waarde kan wees. Nietemin is die Bybel oorspronklik bedoel vir mense wat in ’n pre-industriele en prewetenskaplike wereld geleef het. Hulle huise, stede, plase, lewensomstandighede, kleding en gebruike het radikaal verskil van die wat ons vandag ken – wat die vraag laat ontstaan: hoe kan die reusegaping tussen hierdie antieke tekste en moderne lesers oorbrug word. Geskiedenis en geskrifte stel hedendaagse lesers aan die wereld van die ou Nabye-Ooste bekend – vanaf die ou Israeliete se oorlewingstryd, tot die godsdienstige literatuur wat geskryf is om hulle die lewe te help hanteer en sin te maak uit gebeure wat hul lewe beinvloed het – en lei die leser sodoende tot groter begrip en insig in die verskillende kontekste van die Bybel se wordingsgeskiedenis.
Taking us inside the world of the madrasa--the most common type of school for religious instruction in the Islamic world--Ebrahim Moosa provides an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand orthodox Islam in global affairs. Focusing on postsecondary-level religious institutions in the Indo-Pakistan heartlands, Moosa explains how a madrasa can simultaneously be a place of learning revered by many and an institution feared by many others, especially in a post-9/11 world. Drawing on his own years as a madrasa student in India, Moosa describes in fascinating detail the daily routine for teachers and students today. He shows how classical theological, legal, and Qur'anic texts are taught, and he illuminates the history of ideas and politics behind the madrasa system. Addressing the contemporary political scene in a clear-eyed manner, Moosa introduces us to madrasa leaders who hold diverse and conflicting perspectives on the place of religion in society. Some admit that they face intractable problems and challenges, including militancy; others, Moosa says, hide their heads in the sand and fail to address the crucial issues of the day. Offering practical suggestions to both madrasa leaders and U.S. policymakers for reform and understanding, Moosa poignantly demonstrates how madrasas today still embody the highest aspirations and deeply felt needs of traditional Muslims.
Religious rivalries have been at the root of many human conflicts throughout history. Representatives of nine world religions offer insights into the teachings of nonviolence within their tradition, how practice has often fallen short of the ideals, and how they can overcome the contagion of hatred through a return to traditional teachings on nonviolence. Included are a new Foreword and Preface, a new Introduction by Daniel Smith-Christopher, two new chapters on Islam and the indigenous religion of the Maori, and a new Epilogue. In addition, study questions have been added to each chapter.
Preaching as a language of hope is a result of the 7th Congress of the Societas Homiletica that took place at the University of Pretoria in August 2006. Each speaker at the Congress contributed a chapter to the book, resulting in a compilation of work from respected theologians from across the world. Each chapter looks at a specific aspect within the context of preaching hope, thereby examining the apparent hopelessness of humankind, making it clear that the suffering of Jesus brings hope to people who are suffering themselves.
From the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People comes an inspiring new bestseller that puts human feelings of guilt and inadequacy in perspective - and teaches us how we can learn to accept ourselves and others even when we and they are less than perfect. How Good Do We Have to Be? is for everyone who experiences that sense of guilt and disappointment. Harold Kushner, writing with his customary generosity and wisdom, shows us how human life is too complex for anyone to live it without making mistakes, and why we need not fear the loss of God's love when we are less than perfect. Harold Kushner begins by offering a radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise Outgrown rather than Paradise Lost: eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human, complete with the richness of work, sexuality and child-rearing, and a sense of our mortality. Drawing on modern literature, psychology, theology, and his own thirty years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Harold Kushner reveals how acceptance and forgiveness can change our relationships with the most important people in our lives and help us meet the bold and rewarding challenge of being human.
Since its inception over two hundred years ago, Swaminarayan Hinduism has flourished into a transnational movement described as one of the fastest growing Hindu groups in the world. Despite being one of the largest and most visible Hindu traditions both in India and the West, surprisingly little is known about what the Swaminarayan fellowship believes. An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hindu Theology provides a comprehensive doctrinal account of the Swaminarayan tradition's belief system, drawing on its rich corpus of theological literature, including the teachings of Swaminarayan himself and classical commentaries on canonical Vedantic texts. Part I delineates the sources and tools of Swaminarayan Hindu theology, while Part II systematically expounds upon its distinctive five eternal entities - Parabrahman, Aksarabrahman, maya, isvara and jiva - and mukti (spiritual liberation). In presenting these key themes theologically and lucidly, Swami Paramtattvadas makes the Swaminarayan Hindu belief system intelligible to scholars, students and serious readers.
For as long as men and women have pondered the mysteries of their existence, they have answered their own questions with stories of gods and goddesses. This reference text lists all the known gods throughout recorded history. Alphabetically arranged entries provide the name of each deity, the tribe or culture that worshipped the deity, and the god's origins and functions are explained.
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