Religion A Study in Beauty, Truth, and Goodness

Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2016-07-01
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
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Religion: A Study in Beauty, Truth, and Goodness covers the wide array of elements, including the concepts of ultimate being, scripture, ritual, morality, and beauty, which make up the fascinating entity known as religion. Taking a phenomenological approach that emphasizes the standpoint of the religious believer--a view from the inside of religion--Kent Richter uses the categories of experience, belief, and behavior ("Beauty, Truth, and Goodness") as a way to think about religion in general. This approach helps students understand both the great variety in religious traditions and the internal coherence that religion holds for its practitioners.

Author Biography

Kent Richter is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at College of DuPage. He is the coauthor of Understanding Religion in a Global Society (2004).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Defining 'Religion'
Too Broad and Too Narrow
The Dialectic of Definition and Example
Reductionism and Functional Equivalence
Getting at Last to Definitions
A Working Definition of "Religion"
Part I: Truth, or What Religion Would Have Us Believe
Chapter 2. Concepts of Ultimate Being
God and Gods
Miscellany and Mixtures
Chapter 3. Historical Claims: Founders and Manifestations
"Incarnations" of "God"
Secondary Founders
Non-historical Origins
Chapter 4. Scripture as Source and Authority
Sikhism and the Adi Granth: A Case Study
The General Concept of Scripture
Scripture and Prophets
Scripture and Sages
Secondary Scriptures
Conclusions on Scripture and the Possibility of Anti-scripture
Chapter 5. The Languages of Religion
Religious Languages and Their Importance
Stories: Myth, History, and Parables
Wisdom and Instruction
Exegesis and Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpretation
Chapter 6. Miscellaneous Doctrines: The Truth of Self, Suffering, and Salvation
The Self
Suffering and the Religious Problem of Evil
Epilogue to Part I: The Promise and the Problems of Religious Truth
Part II: Goodness, or What Religion Would Have Us Do
Chapter 7. Ritual
Ritual and Religious Ritual
The Value and Uses of Ritual
Commemorative Ritual
Effective Ritual and Ritual Magic
Problems of Religious Ritual
Chapter 8. Moral Action
Obligation and the "Queerness" of Morality
Monotheism and Divine Commands
The Virtue of the Sages
Monism and Teleological Morality
Religious Exemplars
Problems of Religious Morality
Motivation for Morality
Chapter 9. Social Order and Government
Religion and Social Order
Religion and Economic Equality
"Church and State"
Religion and War
Epilogue to Part II: The Promise and the Problems of Religious Goodness
Part III: Beauty, or What Religion Would Have Us Feel
Chapter 10. Religious Experience
The Variety of Religious Experience
Visions, Voices and the Prophetic Call
Mystical Experience
The Epistemology of Religious Experience
Chapter 11. Religion and Art
Pictorial Art
Other Visual Arts: Calligraphy and Architecture
Poetry and Music
Art as Performance
Chapter 12. Beatitude, or Salvation Reconsidered
Varieties of Beatitude
"What Must I Do to be Saved?"
The Problem of Hell
The Goodness of the Highest Good
Epilogue to Part III: The Promise and the Problems of Religious Beauty
Epilogue: Religion as Trinity

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