- Metaphysics (3) : What is Real
- Epistemology (50) : What and How We Know
- Faith & Reason (86) : Faith and/or Reason
- Truth? (28) : True vs. "true"
- Ethics (34) : Good & Evil, Right & Wrong
- Arts & Letters (17) : Art, Beauty, Interpretation
- Being Human (37) : The Human Condition
- Society & Culture (24) : Living Together
- Origins & Science (50)
- Worldviews (5) : Paradigms & Metanarrative
- God? (25) : God's Existence and Nature
- Jesus (37) : On the Person and Teachings
- Religion (25) : Religion Under the Lens
- Christianity (17) : Beliefs, Practices, History
A Definition of Religion said...
Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, and David Basinger (Oxford University Press: 2008), p. 7.
In spite of the difficulties in defining and applying the term "religion," we need a tentative, working definition. For our purposes, religion is constituted by a set of beliefs, actions, and experiences, both personal and corporate, organized around the concept of an Ultimate Reality which inspires worship or total devotion.
"Death is Homecoming", in Jewish Reflection on Death, ed. Jack Riemer (New York: Schocken Books, 1974), 62.
Paradoxically, the problem of man arises more frequently as the problem of death than as the problem of life. It is an important fact, however, that unlike other Oriental religions, where the preoccupation with death was the central issue of religious thinking, the Bible rarely deals with death as a problem. There is no rebellion against death, no bitterness over its sting, no preoccupation with the afterlife. In striking contrast to its two great neighboring civilizations — Egypt with its intense preoccupation with the afterlife, and Babylonia with the epic of Gilgamesh who wonders in search of immortal life, the story of the descent of Ishtar, and the legend of Nergal and Ereshkigal — the Bible is reticent in speaking about these issue. The Hebrew Bible calls for concern for the problem of living rather than the problem of dying. It's central concern is not, as in the Gilgamesh epic, how to escape death, but rather how to sanctify life.
To Be Near Unto God, pp. 671-675
Not twenty centuries and more have been able to darken the golden glow of the immortal song that has come to us in the forty-second Psalm... in which the homesickness of our human heart cries after the Source of our life. What here grips so mightily is the ardent fervor that breathes throughout this whole psalm, the passionate outpouring of soul... In this psalm the heart itself pushes and drives. It is not from without but from the inner chamber of the heart that the homesickness after the living god irresistibly wells upward... "My soul pants, yea, thirsts after the living God." Not after Creed regarding God, not after an idea of God, not after a remembrance of God, not after a Divine Majesty, that, far removed from the soul, stands over against it as a God in words or in phrases, but after God Himself, after God in His holy outpouring of strength and grace, after God Who is alive, Who... in holy exhibition of love reveals Himself to you and in you as the living God. You feel that all learning falls away, all dogma, all formulas, everything that is external and abstract, everything that exhausts itself in words... It is not your idea, not your understanding, not your thinking, not your reasoning, not even your profession of faith, that here can quench the thirst. The home-sickness goes out after God Himself... it is not the name of God but God Himself whom your soul desires and cannot do without.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, orig. 1926 (Black Dog Publishing: 2006), p. 153.
Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to seekers after it.
Murder on the Orient Express (1934).
The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances. ... Exactly! It is absurd — improbable — it cannot be. So I myself have said. And yet, my friend, there it is! One cannot escape from the facts.
The Closing of the American Mind (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987), 25-26
There is only one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the student's reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2+2=4. These are things you don't think about... That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their response when challenged — a combination of disbelief and indignation: "Are you an absolutist?," the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as... "Do you really believe in witches?" This latter leads into the indignation, for someone who believes in witches might well be a witch-hunter or a Salem judge. The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating. Openness — and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings — is the great insight of our times... The study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all.
"The Value of Historical Theology", in Sundoulos, Fall Issue, 2009 (Talbot: 2009), p. 7.
Leopold Von Ranke's famous maxim that the historian's task is to "tell it like it was" may be ridiculed by those who doubt the possibility or even the desirability of objective history, but I believe Von Ranke was fundamentally correct. In the case of intellectual history, this involves understanding a thinker on his or her own terms, in his or her own context. It is coming to grips with a document's meaning and penetrating what underlies the arguments being advanced. It is no about rehabilitating or castigating those long dead, but about grasping objectively what is being said and why. ¶ While objectivity is the historian's goal, this does not mean that the historian is void of personal commitments, or that he or she must remain neutral as to the truth or falsity of the positions under consideration. The point is simply that history qua history is not about passing such judgments but is merely about getting the story straight, however the chips may fall. It is only after the position has been understood on its own terms and without bias that the historian may turn to evaluation and employ the fruits of his or her discovery in polemical or other theological application. But at that point we've moved beyond the historical task simpliciter and into something else — something wonderfully valuable and necessary, perhaps, but something different nonetheless.
After Virtue (University of Notre Dame Press: 1984), p. 23.
A moral philosophy ... characteristically presupposes a sociology. For every moral philosophy offers explicitly or implicitly at least a partial conceptual analysis of the relationship of an agent to his or her reasons, motives, intentions and actions, and in so doing generally presupposes some claim that these concepts are embodied or at least can be in the real social world. Even Kant, who sometimes seems to restrict moral agency to the inner realm of the noumenal, implies otherwise in his writings on law, history and politics. Thus it would generally be a decisive refutation of a moral philosophy to show that moral agency on its own account of the matter could never be socially embodied; and it also follows that we have not yet fully understood the claims of any moral philosophy until we have spelled out what its social embodiment would be.
The Plague, (New York: Vintage International, 1948, 1975) 125-8.
I've seen too much of hospitals to relish any idea of collective punishment. But, as you know, Christians sometimes say that sort of thing without really thinking it. They're better than they seem. [Father] Paneloux is a man of learning, a scholar. He hasn't come in contact with death; that's why he can speak with such assurance of the truth — with a capital T. Bet every country priest who visits his parishioners and has to hear a man gasping for breath on his deathbed thinks as I do. He'd try to relieve human suffering before trying to point out its excellence. If [I] believed in an all-powerful God [I] would cease curing the sick and leave that to Him. But no one in the world believed in a God of that sort; no, not even Paneloux, who believed that he believed in such a God. And this was proved by the fact that no one ever threw himself on Providence completely. [S]ince the order of the world is shaped by death, mightn't it be better for God if we refuse to believe in Him and struggle with all our might against death, without raising our eyes toward the heaven where He sits in silence?
The Plague (New York: Vintage International, 1948, 1975), 37.
When a war breaks out, people say: "It's too stupid; it can't last long." But though a war may well be "too stupid," that doesn't prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped in ourselves... In this respect our townspeople were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away. Our townsfolk were not more to blame than others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything still was possible for them.
Popular in Books
- Boston College's MA Philosophy Reading List
- How People Poison Everything
- Librarians' Top 100 Novels of 20th Century
- What's So Great About Christianity
- Faith of the Fatherless
- Oxford Handbook of Skepticism
- The Persecuted Atheist?
- Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics
- The Victory of Reason
- What Is a "Scientific Fact"? Won't Plain Ol' Facts Do?
Popular in Quotes
- Lt. Col. Mervin Willett Gonin DSO on the Holocaust
- Friedrich Nietzsche on Fighting Monsters
- Fyodor Dostoevsky (as Ivan Karamazov) on Evil
- Karl Marx on Religion
- J.P. Moreland on Postmodernism and Anger
- Mark Twain (as Huck Finn) on Ethics
- John Stuart Mill on Fallibility and Free Speech
- J.P. Moreland on Postmodernism
- Angus Menuge on Inference to the Best Explanation
- J.P. Moreland on Rival Worldviews
Popular in Papers
- The Euthanasia Debate: Understanding the Issues
- Aquinas versus Locke and Descartes on the Human Person and End-of-Life Ethics
- Utilitarianism and the Moral Life
- Philosophical Apologetics, the Church, and Contemporary Culture
- Scientific Creationism, Science, and Conceptual Problems
- Is Science a Threat or Help to Faith?
- Argument from Consciousness
- Complementarity, Agency Theory, and the God-of-the-Gaps
- Scientific Naturalism and the Unfalsifiable Myth of Evolution
- The Indispensability of Theological Meta-ethical Foundations for Morality
- Os Guinness on the Weight of Prophetic Witness
- Barack Obama on Easter
- Miguel de Unamuno on Personal Identity
- 101 Alternatives to "Feeling That"...
- David James Duncan on the Bible
- Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction
- M. Faraday on Family Values in Cuba
- Complex Cause
- John Courtney Murray on Holding Certain Truths
- Emma Goldman on Love and Marriage