Religion and Human Nature
Continuing Keith Ward's series on comparative religion, this book deals with religious views of human nature and destiny. The beliefs of six major traditions are presented: the view of Advaita Vedanta that there is one Supreme Self, unfolding into the illusion of individual existence; the Vaishnava belief that there is an infinite number of souls, whose destiny is to be released from material embodiment; the Buddhist view that there is no eternal Self; the Abrahamic belief that persons are essentially embodied souls; and the materialistic position that persons are complex material organisms. Indian ideas of rebirth, karma, and liberation from samsara are critically analysed and compared with semitic belief in the intermediate state of Sheol, Purgatory or Paradise, the Final Judgement and the resurrection of the body. The impact of scientific theories of cosmic and biological evolution on religious beliefs is assessed, and a form of 'soft emergent materialism' is defended, with regard to the soul. In this context, a Christian doctrine of original sin and atonement is presented, stressing the idea of soterial, as opposed to forensic, justice. Finally, a Christian view of personal immortality and the 'end of all things' is developed in conversation with Jewish and Muslim beliefs about judgement and resurrection.
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The Doctrine of Atonement
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accept achieve action acts Advaita agent become belief bliss bodhisattvas body Brahman brain Buddha Buddhist causal Christ Christian compassion complete consciousness continuing cosmic creation creative creatures death desire devotion divine grace divine love doctrine earth earthly egoism embodied environment estrangement eternal evil evolution evolutionary existence experience express faith finite freedom fulfilment Gaudiya Vaishnavas Gita goal God's Hell human nature hypothesis Ibid idea individual souls infinite number interpretation ISKCON Israel Jesus Judaism Judgement karma knowledge Krishna liberation lives Mahayana manifest material world mercy Messianic moral mutations natural selection nirvana non-dual one's original sin particular perfect person physical possible present punishment pure Qur'an reality realize realm rebirth relation relationship religion religious response resurrection Sankhya seems self-regard selfish sense sentient Sheol sort spiritual subtle body suffering supreme Lord teaching tence theist things thought tion Torah traditions trans ultimate unity universe Vaishnavas Vivekananda wholly