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Why Religions Matter

$32.99 (P)

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107448346

$ 32.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • What are religions? Why is it important to understand them? One answer is that religions and religious believers are extremely bad news: they are deeply involved in conflicts around the globe; they harm people of whom they disapprove; and they often seem irrational. Another answer claims that they are in fact extremely good news: religious beliefs and practices are universal and so fundamental in human nature that they have led us to great discoveries in our explorations of the cosmos and of who we are. The sciences began as part of that religious exploration. John Bowker demonstrates that there is truth in both answers and that we need both to understand what religion is and why it matters. He draws on many disciplines – from physics, genetics and the neurosciences to art, anthropology and the history of religions – to show how they shed entirely new light on religion in the modern world.

    • Written by one of the most prominent contemporary theologians
    • Explains what constitutes effective study of religion and provides practical examples
    • Offers a timely discussion of tensions in various religious groups
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Many readers will feel refreshed to follow the thoughts of an infinitely enquiring mind released from artificial shackles.' Jonathan Benthall, The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107448346
    • length: 362 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The paradox of religions
    3. Religions and sciences I: 'the warfare between science and religion'
    4. Religions and sciences II: dogmatism and doubt
    5. Religions and sciences III: the selfless gene: genetic determinism and human freedom
    6. Religions and sciences IV: causes and constraints
    7. Understanding religions I: issues of translation and interpretation
    8. Understanding religions II: being religiously human
    the internalisation of constraint in ethics and art
    9. Understanding religions III: ritual and the human imagination of death
    10. Understanding religions IV: communities of shared exploration and discovery.

  • Author

    John Bowker, Gresham College, London
    John Bowker is an Emeritus Professor at Gresham College, London. He has also been a Fellow and Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Professor of Religious Studies at the universities of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina State. He is the author or editor of more than forty books, including Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World; The Meanings of Death (winner of the HarperCollins Book Prize, 1993); Is God a Virus? Genes, Culture and Religion; The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions; God: A Brief History; Beliefs that Changed the World and Knowing the Unknowable: Science and Religions on God and the Universe.

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