Why Religions Work
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Why Religions Work : God's Place in the World Today

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Description

God and religion come in for bad press these days. Is religion worth keeping? Are militant atheists misguided? Do religion and spirituality need each other? Is it possible to build tolerance and respect in a divided world? And can science play a role? Eleanor Stoneham explains why the answer to all these questions is a resounding 'yes'. It is true that religions need to change and become more relevant for today's needs. But supposing science also changed, shed its shackles of conventional materialistic dogma based on some shaky assumptions and looked with new eyes at religious beliefs such as prayer, distance healing and life after death? Is it possible that the latest ideas on empathy and consciousness could be narrowing the gulf between science and religion? In our quest for a more just and peaceful society, could these same ideas help us find stronger inter-religious bonds of respect and understanding at the level of heart and soul? This book will help lay persons and clergy alike relate church tradition to the wider world of science, spirituality and interfaith issues. It will challenge the 'spiritual but not religious.' It will make the faithful think. And it will test those convinced that their religion or faith is the only way to enlightenment, the only path to Truth.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 145 pages
  • 140 x 212 x 12mm | 181.44g
  • John Hunt Publishing
  • Circle Books
  • Ropley, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1780994966
  • 9781780994963

Review quote

We are smashing up ourselves, our relationships, and our planet. Religion is often blamed, and the charges often seem just. Fundamentalism of all sorts puts words and dogmas above people, justice and plain decency. There's a strong temptation to ditch religion. Compassionate humanism sometimes seems to have a more sensitive diagnostic nose and a more shrewd therapeutic, or at least palliative, plan. But ditching religion, argues Eleanor Stoneham in this gentle, urgent, compelling book, would be a bad mistake. It would mean reading religion as its twisters - the strident Christian Taliban of the Bible Belt and the dead-eyed, red-handed Islamists - want us to read it. Wed be joining them in their crass misreading. The real core of religion, she contends, is the Golden Rule of passionate altruism - a rule shared by all the great world faiths and by all great-hearted people. This rule wasn't generated by the Darwinian imperatives of reciprocal altruism or kin selection: it was set into the hearts of men by a God who gives himself freely and wildly to his creatures. We can't do without him (or her), as Stoneham calmly and persuasively demonstrates, and it's dangerous and downright dull to try. --Charles Foster Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford A refreshing and timely perspective on the spiritual condition of our times, reminding us that the basic role of religion is the cure of souls and calling for a renewed respect for religious traditions and an acknowledgement of the vital part they play in the maintenance of human community - contrary to the strident assertions of outspoken militant atheists. Radhakrishnans vision of a religion of the spirit, endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI, gives us an inspiring prospect of unity within diversity. --David Lorime, Programme Director of The Scientific and Medical Network In her new book Dr Eleanor Stoneham, who is herself a highly trained empirical scientist, presents the rational evidence to demonstrate that the genuine religious quest has just as good a claim as the scientific method to be a search for truth. Her open-mindedness is in contrast to the intolerance purveyed in many New Atheist publications where religious people are stereotyped as too stupid or ill informed to take account of the findings of modern science. Such a wild generalisation is itself unintelligent because it is manifestly untrue, as Dr Stoneham demonstrates. She argues that open-minded compassion lies at the heart of all true religion. Its absence is a sure sign of betrayal, leading to every sort of corruption. The New Atheists should be aware that they do their cause no good by showing a similar closed-minded lack of respect. --David Hay, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen School of Divinity, and Religious Studies, Author of The Spirit of the Childshow more

About Eleanor Stoneham

Eleanor Stoneham is a postgraduate biologist from Sheffield University as well as a qualified accountant, tax consultant and financial adviser, now retired to give more time for her research and writing interests. Actively involved in the Anglican Church as a verger and altar girl, she describes herself as an unconventional and free-thinking Christian author and in what little spare time she has she works her allotment and garden South of London. Her first book, Healing this Wounded Earth, published by O Books, is a call for our lives to be infused with spirit and compassion in a global quest for healing. She is working on her second book on religious tolerance. http://www.eleanorstoneham.com Photograph is by Richard Robertson Photographyshow more

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