Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Julian Baggini

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192804242

Category: Philosophy

Page: 119

View: 2993

Do you think of atheists as immoral pessimists who live their lives without meaning, purpose, or values? Think again! Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral.

Humanism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen Law

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191614009

Category: Religion

Page: 168

View: 2378

Religion is currently gaining a much higher profile. The number of faith schools is increasingly, and religious points of view are being aired more frequently in the media. As religion's profile rises, those who reject religion, including humanists, often find themselves misunderstood, and occasionally misrepresented. Stephen Law explores how humanism uses science and reason to make sense of the world, looking at how it encourages individual moral responsibility and shows that life can have meaning without religion. Challenging some of the common misconceptions, he seeks to dispute the claims that atheism and humanism are 'faith positions' and that without God there can be no morality and our lives are left without purpose. Looking at the history of humanism and its development as a philosophical alternative, he examines the arguments for and against the existence of God, and explores the role humanism plays in moral and secular societies, as well as in moral and religious education. Using humanism to determine the meaning of life, he shows that there is a positive alternative to traditional religious belief. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Agnosticism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Robin Le Poidevin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199575266

Category: Philosophy

Page: 134

View: 4390

What is agnosticism? Is it just the 'don't know' position on God, or is there more to it than this? Is it a belief, or merely the absence of belief? Who were the first to call themselves 'agnostics'? These are just some of the questions that Robin Le Poidevin considers in this Very Short Introduction. He sets the philosophical case for agnosticism and explores it as a historical and cultural phenomenon. What emerges is a much more sophisticated, and much more interesting, attitude than a simple failure to either commit to, or reject, religious belief. Le Poidevin challenges some preconceptions and assumptions among both believers and non-atheists, and invites the reader to rethink their own position on the issues. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Martyrdom: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jolyon Mitchell

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199585237

Category: Political Science

Page: 141

View: 8276

Martyrdom is a controversial topic, with a long history of provoking fierce debate. In this Very Short Introduction Jolyon Mitchell provides a historical analysis to understand the contemporary debates surrounding martyrdom. Using examples from a variety of contexts around the world, he explores how it has evolved, and what it means today.

Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Thomas Dixon

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191578983

Category: Religion

Page: 168

View: 4756

The debate between science and religion is never out of the news: emotions run high, fuelled by polemical bestsellers like The God Delusion and, at the other end of the spectrum, high-profile campaigns to teach 'Intelligent Design' in schools. Yet there is much more to the debate than the clash of these extremes. As Thomas Dixon shows in this balanced and thought-provoking introduction, many have seen harmony rather than conflict between faith and science. He explores not only the key philosophical questions that underlie the debate, but also the social, political, and ethical contexts that have made 'science and religion' such a fraught and interesting topic in the modern world, offering perspectives from non-Christian religions and examples from across the physical, biological, and social sciences.. Along the way, he examines landmark historical episodes such as the trial of Galileo by the Inquisition in 1633, and the famous debate between 'Darwin's bulldog' Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce in Oxford in 1860. The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' in Tennessee in 1925 and the Dover Area School Board case of 2005 are explained with reference to the interaction between religion, law, and education in modern America. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

God

A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Bowker

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198708955

Category: Religion

Page: 135

View: 940

In this concise introduction to the deity, John Bowker explores how each major religion, and countless philosophers and theologians, have answered the fundamental question: Who or what is God? He also explores why some people believe in God and others do not, and concludes by looking at how our understanding of God continues to evolve in the present day. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Judaism

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Norman Solomon

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199687358

Category: Religion

Page: 151

View: 4370

Outlines the basics of practical Judaism and considers how Judaism has responded to, and dealt with, a number of key issues and debates, including the impact of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel.

Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Richard Tuck

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191604461

Category: Philosophy

Page: 168

View: 5573

Thomas Hobbes, the first great English political philosopher, has long had the reputation of being a pessimistic atheist, who saw human nature as inevitably evil and proposed a totalitarian state to subdue human failings. In this illuminating study, Richard Tuck re-evaluates Hobbes's philosophy and dispels these myths, revealing him to have been passionately concerned with the refutation of scepticism, and to have developed a theory of knowledge which rivalled that of Descartes in its importance. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Kant: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191604437

Category: Philosophy

Page: 160

View: 8992

Kant is arguably the most influential modern philosopher, but also one of the most difficult. Roger Scruton tackles his exceptionally complex subject with a strong hand, exploring the background to Kant's work and showing why the Critique of Pure Reason has proved so enduring. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Magic: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Owen Davies

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191623881

Category: Religion

Page: 152

View: 6174

Defining 'magic' is a maddening task. Over the last century numerous philosophers, anthropologists, historians, and theologians have attempted to pin down its essential meaning, sometimes analysing it in such complex and abstruse depth that it all but loses its sense altogether. For this reason, many people often shy away from providing a detailed definition, assuming it is generally understood as the human control of supernatural forces. 'Magic' continues to pervade the popular imagination and idiom. People feel comfortable with its contemporary multiple meanings, unaware of the controversy, conflict, and debate its definition has caused over two and a half millennia. In common usage today 'magic' is uttered in reference to the supernatural, superstition, illusion, trickery, religious miracles, fantasies, and as a simple superlative. The literary confection known as 'magical realism' has considerable appeal and many modern scientists have ironically incorporated the word into their vocabulary, with their 'magic acid', 'magic bullets' and 'magic angles'. Since the so-called European Enlightenment magic has often been seen as a marker of primitivism, of a benighted earlier stage of human development. Yet across the modern globalized world hundreds of millions continue to resort to magic - and also to fear it. Magic provides explanations and remedies for those living in extreme poverty and without access to alternatives. In the industrial West, with its state welfare systems, religious fundamentalists decry the continued moral threat posed by magic. Under the guise of neo-Paganism, its practice has become a religion in itself. Magic continues to be a truly global issue. This Very Short Introduction does not attempt to provide a concluding definition of magic: it is beyond simple definition. Instead it explores the many ways in which magic, as an idea and a practice, has been understood and employed over the millennia. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Philip Sheldrake

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199588759

Category: Philosophy

Page: 133

View: 3802

With a decline in traditional religious belief, interest in spirituality has grown in Western cultures. The notion of spirituality expresses the fact that people are driven by goals that concern more than material satisfaction. Here, the author explores the historical foundations of spirituality and thinks about how it transforms lives.

Paul

Author: E. P. Sanders

Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.

ISBN: 9781402768859

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 218

View: 3952

Missionary, theologian, and religious genius, Paul is the most powerful human personality in the history of the Church. His epistles laid the foundations on which later Christian theology was built. In his original introduction to the disciple’s life and thought, E. P. Sanders, whose research on Paul has significantly influenced recent scholarship, pays equal attention to analyze Paul’s gospel and to explore his fundamental--and sometimes contradictory--convictions.

Islam: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Malise Ruthven

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0199642877

Category: Religion

Page: 200

View: 6204

Islam features widely in the news, often in its most militant forms, but few people in the non-Muslim world really understand its nature. Malise Ruthven's Very Short Introduction, offers essential insights into the big issues, provides fresh perspectives on contemporary questions, and guides us through the complex debates.

Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Thomas Flynn

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191579300

Category: Philosophy

Page: 160

View: 8470

Existentialism was one of the leading philosophical movements of the twentieth century. Focusing on its seven leading figures, Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty and Camus, this Very Short Introduction provides a clear account of the key themes of the movement which emphasized individuality, free will, and personal responsibility in the modern world. Drawing in the movement's varied relationships with the arts, humanism, and politics, this book clarifies the philosophy and original meaning of 'existentialism' - which has tended to be obscured by misappropriation. Placing it in its historical context, Thomas Flynn also highlights how existentialism is still relevant to us today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Myth

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Robert Alan Segal

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198724705

Category: Religion

Page: 142

View: 2588

This title introduces a wide array of approaches to understanding myth from varied disciplines. It uses the famous ancient myth of Adonis to analyse the ideas and individual approaches and theories of theorists such as Sigmund Freud, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Albert Camus, and Roland Barthes. This new edition considers the interactions of myth theory with cognitive science, the implications of the myth of Gaia, and the differences between story-telling and myth, as well as the future study of myth.

A Short History of Atheism

Author: Gavin Hyman

Publisher: I.B.Tauris

ISBN: 0857730355

Category: Religion

Page: 232

View: 9551

The last few years have seen a remarkable surge of popular interest in the topic of atheism. Books about atheism by writers like richard dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have figured prominently in bestseller lists and have attracted widespread discussion in the media. The ubiquity of public debates about atheism, especially in conscious opposition to the perceived social threat posed by faith and religion, has been startling. However, as gavin Hyman points out, despite their prevalence and popularity, what often characterises these debates is a lack of nuance and sophistication. They can be shrill, ignorant of the historical complexity of discussions about belief, and tend to lapse into caricature. What is needed is a clear and well-informed presentation of how atheistic ideas originated and developed, in order to illuminate their contemporary relevance and application. That task is what the author undertakes here. Charting the rise of atheism as an explicit philosophical position (notably in the work of denis diderot), Hyman traces its development in the ideas of descartes, Locke and Berkeley, and draws too on the work of important contemporary scholars like amos Funkenstein and michael J. Buckley. arguing that the plausibility and persuasiveness of atheism is sustained by the demise of a religion that is defined by the presuppositions and assumptions of modernity, the author boldly suggests that atheism - like the belief to which it is antipathetic - is itself vulnerable to a future that challenges the intellectual inheritance of the enlightenment. For anyone interested in the origins of atheism (whether they consider themselves to be ‘an atheist’, or ‘religious’, or indeed somewhere in-between), and in the rich cultural, philosophical and historical matrix out of which it emerged, A Short History of Atheism offers a fascinating exploration of the often surprising co-dependency of faith and its negation.

Christianity

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Linda Woodhead

Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)

ISBN: 0199687749

Category: Religion

Page: 130

View: 2791

At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important overview of the world's largest religion. Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up to date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Darwin: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jonathan Howard

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191622427

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 3822

Darwin's theory that our ancestors were apes caused a furore in the scientific world and outside it when The Origin of Species was published in 1859. Arguments still rage about the implications of his evolutionary theory, and scepticism about the value of Darwin's contribution to knowledge is widespread. In this analysis of Darwin's major insights and arguments, Jonathan Howard reasserts the importance of Darwin's work for the development of modern biology. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Patrick Gardiner

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 019160447X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 144

View: 791

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55), one of the most original thinkers of the nineteenth century, wrote widely on religious, psychological, and literary themes. This book shows how Kierkegaard developed his views in emphatic opposition to prevailing opinions. It describes his reaction to the ethical and religious theories of Kant and Hegel, and it also contrasts his position with doctrines advanced by men like Feuerbach and Marx. Kierkegaard's seminal diagnosis of the human condition, which emphasizes the significance of individual choice, has arguably been his most striking philosophical legacy, particularly for the growth of existentialism. Both that and his arresting but paradoxical conception of religious belief are critically discussed, and Patrick Gardiner concludes this lucid introduction by showing how Kierkegaard has influenced contemporary thought. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Angels: A Very Short Introduction

Author: David Albert Jones

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199547300

Category: History

Page: 141

View: 4339

In this lively and concise Very Short Introduction, David Albert Jones provides a crisp, broad-ranging survey of angels in theology, philosophy, and popular culture. Focusing on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, he examines how angels have been imagined and explained as well as why they continue to captivate us. Jones explores the classical discussion--what they are made of, when they came to be, and how many there are. He names the archangels, surveys the different hierarchies, and examines how they have changed over time. He looks at why the idea of angels remains so potent in modern culture, even among non-believers.