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Building Cultures of Trust (Emory University Studies in Law and Religion) Hardcover – August 17, 2010
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
The presidential election of 2000, the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, and the wars ins Afghanistan and Iraq called into serious question for many individuals the degree to which trust in political and religious leaders has been completely broken. In his thoughtful and probing study, Marty, the dean of American religious thinkers, examines some of the reasons that mistrust is fostered in society and then suggests ways that trust can become a more evident feature of society, enriching our lives. Rather than striving to construct a utopian state in which everyone trusts everyone else completely, Marty suggests a more incremental approach in which individuals in various cultures and sub-cultures, such as science and religion, begin to build trust step-by-step through conversations about the nature of human communication and the human self. Open flow of communication is vital, for Marty, to the development of trust as part of the goal of building cultures in a complex society. Part of the Emory University Studies in Law and Religion series, Marty's little book offers hopeful suggestions for restoring trust in a world sorely lacking it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
― Jim Wallis
president and CEO of Sojourners
author of Rediscovering Values
“The presidential election of 2000, the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have made the degree to which trust in political and religious leaders has been completely broken a serious consideration. In his thoughtful and probing study, Marty, the dean of American religious thinkers, examines some of the reasons that mistrust is fostered in society and then suggests ways that trust can become a more evident feature of society, enriching our lives. . . . Offers hopeful suggestions for restoring trust in a world sorely lacking it.”
― Publishers Weekly
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This book could lay the groundwork for some interesting intellectual discussions, but it is not as inspiring, useful, or clear cut as one might wish. Although Marty puts forth some very thoughtful and provocative ideas and I took many notes, it does not have the kind of information in it that you might expect from the title.
The best parts of the book come early on, with a discussion of why post-9/11 Americans are mistrustful, the importance of sharing myths and stories to build understanding, and a fine quote from Bernard Lonergan: "Be attentive, be intelligent, be responsible, be loving, and if necessary, change."
This book loses focus about midpoint, where definitions and different modes of perception and mindsets are explored. We find a brief statement about the importance of conversation, but little practical advice about how to structure such a discussion or how to bridge the gaps.
If you are truly thinking about "building cultures of trust," I would suggest reading People to People's website. If you are a lay person looking for information on the links between science and religion, you might prefer Fritjof Capra's books, or the Dalai Lama's book "The Universe in a Single Atom."