The Meaning and End of Religion by Wilfred Cantwell Smith PDF

By Wilfred Cantwell Smith

ISBN-10: 0800624750

ISBN-13: 9780800624750

In The which means & finish of Religion, Smith contends that faith is a in particular eu thought of modern starting place. Practitioners of any given religion don't come to treat what they do as 'religion' until eventually they've got sprouted that kind of collective self-regard which explanations them to have absorbed the point of view of the outsider. faith, within the smooth experience of the be aware, is a manufactured from id politics & apologetics: "One's personal 'religion' can be piety & religion, obedience, worship & a imaginative and prescient of god. An alien 'religion' is a process of ideals or rituals, an summary & impersonal development of observables. A dialectic ensues, although. If one's personal faith is attacked, by way of unbelievers who unavoidably conceptualize it schematically, or all faith is by means of the detached, one has a tendency to jump to the defence of what's attacked, in order that almost immediately individuals of a faith--especially these such a lot interested by argument--are utilizing the time period within the comparable externalist & theoretical feel as their rivals. faith as a scientific entity, because it emerged within the seventeenth & 18th centuries, is an idea of polemics & apologetics".
through etymological examine of 'religion' (Latin: religio), Smith additional contends that the time period, which firstly, & for many centuries, denoted an angle in the direction of a courting among god & people, has, via conceptual slippage, come to intend a "system of observances or beliefs", a ancient culture institutionalized via a reification approach. while 'religio' denoted own piety, 'religion' refers to an summary entity or transcendental signifier which he says doesn't exist.
Smith argues that the time period as present in Lucretius & Cicero used to be internalized through the Church via Lactantius & Augustine. throughout the heart a while it was once outdated by means of the time period "faith", which he favors in contrast. within the Renaissance, through the Xian Platonist Marsilio Ficino, 'religio' turns into well known back, maintaining its unique emphasis on own perform even in John Calvin's Christianae Religionis Institutio (1536). in the course of seventeenth century debates among Catholics & Protestants, faith starts off to consult summary structures of ideals, specially whilst describing an oppositional constitution. through the Enlightenment this idea is additional reified, in order that through the nineteenth century Hegel defines faith as 'Begriff', "a self-subsisting transcendent concept that unfolds itself in dynamic expression during ever-changing history... whatever genuine in itself, an excellent entity with which guy has to reckon, a anything that precedes all its ancient manifestation".
Smith concludes his etymology via arguing that faith now has 4 meanings: 1) own piety; 2&3) "an overt procedure of ideals, practices, values" comprising either an excellent formation in theology & an empirical formation in background & sociology; & four) a wide-spread summation or common class, ie: faith in most cases.

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Other thinkers had perhaps by the implication of their language come close to supposing rather incidentally something of the sort, but Hegel seems to have been the first to assert with clarity and massive vigour that religion as seen in society is something real in itself, a great entity with which man has to reckon, a something that precedes all its historical manifestations . Though if formulated in these terms and ascribed explicitly to Hegel the idea would be consciously accepted by few, it has nonetheless in fact haunted Western thinking ever since.

A closer translation would be 'On True Religion'; the idea is of the order of 'On Proper Piety', or 'On Genuine Worship' . As the author himself comes close to saying, the book argues 'at great length and in many ways that vera religio means the worship of the one true God' ; it hardly mentions 'Christianity' , and culminates in a warm, reverberating and sustained affirmation of a personal relation to that transcendent God 'from whom, through whom, and in whom are all things. To Him be glory for ever and ever.

And Faith' . In these cases 'piety' could reasonably be substituted for 'religion' ; on the other hand, it would be impossible even today to insert an article before 'religion' without seriously changing the meaning . 98 99 100 101 102 Vt From the seventeenth century, however, Europeans and especially the leaders of their thought evolved new ways of looking at the world, new attitudes to the churches, new conceptions of truth. The new generations took over our term to designate now that in which they were increasingly interested, namely the intellectual construct, presently the various intellectual constructs, systematic and abstract, that were to be elaborated in the religious realm.

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The Meaning and End of Religion by Wilfred Cantwell Smith

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