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The Meaning and End of Religion Paperback – Bargain Price, January 5, 1991
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More specifically, Smith offers a shocking view of studying religion and what religion is in the first place. Whether or not you completely agree with it, Smith will give you quite a bit to think about.
The methodology proposed by Cantwell Smith involves recognizing what we have called "religions" as being, in fact, nexuses of "cumulative traditions" (the historically-observable data of religious life in history--artworks, buildings, rituals, communities) and "faith" (the inner encounter between the individual and what Cantwell Smith calls "transcendence"--presumably comparable to Otto's Heilige or Eliade's "the sacred," and similarly susceptible to the charge that it is simply a smuggled-in God-concept).
The Meaning and End of Religion is now nearly half a century old, and it shows its age. While the historical survey is very compelling, and the case Cantwell Smith makes in this portion of the book is persuasive, much of the rest of the work takes a decisively theological turn that reveals the author's largely uncritical mid-twentieth-century liberal-Protestant worldview.Read more ›
Because of the limited, restricted and narrowing thought that is imposed upon us by embracing our own religion, whether it is Christian, Hindu, Baptist, Lutheran, or any other sect the author suggests that we discontinue using the term "religion" itself, and replace it with a Universal conception of God that embraces all of humanity, not of just one separate religious sect. The author questions why the loving father of all humankind favors only the Christians,the Methodists, the Baptists, the Jews, or any others, as his "chosen few".
The importance of learning about the History of other religions, as well as our own, is strongly recommended by the author. The chapter "The Special Case of Islam" opened my eyes to my own narrow, prejudiced conception of "those other guys".
The chapter on "Faith" is thoughtful enough to have been written in a book by itself.
"THE MEANING AND THE END OF RELIGION" is a classic in the area of spiritual thought. It will undoubtedly remain a classic for many years to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A brilliant analysis of the origin of religion and why it is so important in our lives, even for those whose religion is science.Published 18 months ago by Ken Baskin
I have found the book quite helpful, especially as he separates faith commitment from cumulative faith traditions. Read morePublished 22 months ago by George M. Plasterer
Delivery excellnt, content not too clear but OK The book's physical condition was fine and it arrived promptly. Read morePublished on May 19, 2014 by Claudia A. Bartelt