All too frequently, humans are involved only in seeing religion from either an academic or a proselytising point of view; we forget the human side, the faith and belief, the wonder that is the driving force behind religion. Launching Oneworld's series of "Beginner's Guides" - introductory titles with a twist - this study probes to the heart of religion, examining a range of issues with clarity and concision. From the origins of religious belief to the role of festivals and the life beyond this one, this incisive little volume draws on history, theology, philosophy and the words of great thinkers old and new to introduce the timeless truths behind our common spiritual quests.
About the Author
Martin Forward is currently the Helena Wackerlin Professor of Religious Studies in Aurora University, Illinois, and Executive Director of its Center for Faith and Action. He is an ordained Methodist minister, is the author and editor of numerous books and articles, and is an acknowledged expert in contemporary religious studies.
1. What is religion? Religion The origins of religion The age of nationalism and internationalism Criticisms of the secular quest for the origins of religion The end of the quest for the origins of religion The place of religion in society Religions: a modern invention? Religion as systems Empathy for the religious other? The perennial philosophy How to recognise a religion 2. Is anyone or something there? Polytheism Monotheism The one and the many Tribal or universal? Does it really matter whether anyone or anything is there? three how the transcendent sees us and we see the transcendent Art and aesthetics Holy places Holy word Holy people The mystical path Festivals and festivities Worship Spirituality 4. The good life Life beyond? The way through dusty death The moving finger? A universal rule? What sort of God is God? 5. Religion in the new millennium Idealisation of the past Reconstructions of religion Diasporas The search for justice The question of truth Faith in the future of religion Bibliography Index