God, Freedom and Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centered Culture

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InterVarsity Press, Dec 28, 2012 - Religion - 227 pages
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Does God's all-encompassing will restrict our freedom? Does God's ownership and mastery over us diminish our dignity? The fear that God is a threat to our freedom and dignity goes far back in Western thought. Such suspicion remains with us today in our so-called secular society. In such a context any talk of God tends to provoke responses that range from defiance to subservience to indifference. How did Western culture come to this place? What impact does this social and intellectual environment have on those who claim to believe in God or more specifically in the Christian God of the Bible? Professor of religion Ron Highfield traces out the development of Western thought that has led us our current frame of mind from Plato, Augustine and Descartes through Locke, Kant, Blake Bentham, Hegel, Nietzsche--all the way down to Charles Taylor's landmark work Sources of the Self. At the heart of the issue is the modern notion of the autonomous self and the inevitable crisis it provokes for a view of human identity, freedom and dignity found in God. Can the modern self really secure its own freedom, dignity and happiness? What alternative do we have? Highfield makes pertinent use of trinitarian theology to show how genuine Christian faith responds to this challenge by directing us to a God who is not in competition with his human creations, but rather who provides us with what we seek but could never give ourselves. God, Freedom and Human Dignity is essential reading for Christian students who are interested in the debates around secularism, modernity and identity formation.
 

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Contents

Preface
11
How the MeCentered World Was Born
17
The Promethean Dimension
40
The Religion of Idols
48
A Study in Thoughtlessness
64
The God of the Modern Self
77
The Secret Aspirations of the Modern Self
90
Some Unwelcome Limits on Freedom
102
The Awakening Presence
139
A New Way of Being Human Being
151
The Divine Adoption
159
The Emergence of GodCentered Identity
170
The Freedom of the Children of God
181
Gods Love as the Ground and Measure
191
The Reconciliation of Heaven and Earth
207
Subject Index
219

The GodCentered Self
113
The Irony of Divine Weakness
127

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About the author (2012)

Ron Highfield (PhD, Rice University) is professor of religion at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He is the author of Great is the Lord: Theology for the Praise of God, Barth and Rahner: Toward an Ecumenical Understanding of Sin and Evil, God, Freedom & Human Dignity and coauthor (with Gregory Boyd, William Lane Craig and Paul Helseth) of Four Views on Divine Providence. His published chapters and articles have covered subjects ranging from theological anthropology to open theism to Christian higher education.

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