This book presents a radical new picture of natural order. The Newtonian idea of a cosmos ruled by universal and exceptionless laws has been superseded; replaced by a conception of nature as a realm of diverse powers, potencies, and dispositions, a 'dappled world'. There is order in nature, but it is more local, diverse, piecemeal, open, and emergent than Newton imagined. In each chapter expert authors expound the historical context of the idea of laws of nature, and explore the diverse (...) sorts of order actually presupposed by work in physics, biology, and the social sciences. They consider how human freedom might be understood, and explore how Newton's idea of a 'universal designer' might be revised, in this new context. They argue that there is not one unified totalizing program of science, aiming at the completion of one closed causal system. We live in an ordered universe, but we need to rethink the classical idea of the 'laws of nature' in a more dynamic and creatively diverse way. (shrink)
I will be concerned with only one problem about truth which is raised by the diversity of religions which exist in the world. The problem is this: many religions claim to state truths about the nature of the universe and human destiny which are important or even necessary for human salvation and ultimate well-being. Many of these truths seem to he incompatible; yet there is no agreed method for deciding which are to he accepted; and equally intelligent, informed, virtuous and (...) holy people belong to different faiths. It seems, therefore, that a believing member of any one tradition is compelled to regard all other traditions as holding false beliefs and therefore as not leading to salvation. Since each faith forms a minority of the world's population, all religious believers thus seem committed to saying that most intelligent, virtuous and spiritually devoted people cannot know the truth or attain salvation. This is a problem, because it is in tension with the belief, held by many traditions, that the supremely real being is concerned for the salvation of all rational creatures. How can this he so if, through no fault of their own, most creatures cannot come to know the truth and thereby attain salvation? (shrink)
The concept of the 'social Trinity', which posits three conscious subjects in God, radically revised the traditional Christian idea of the Creator. It promoted a view of God as a passionate, creative and responsive source of all being. Keith Ward argues that social Trinitarian thinking threatens the unity of God, however, and that this new view of God does not require a 'social' component. Expanding on the work of theologians such as Barth and Rahner, who insisted that there was only (...) one mind of God, Ward offers a coherent, wholly monotheistic interpretation of the Trinity. Christ and the Cosmos analyses theistic belief in a scientific context, demonstrating the necessity of cosmology to theological thinking that is often overly myopic and anthropomorphic. This important volume will benefit those who seek to understand what the Trinity is, why it matters and how it fits into a scientific account of the universe. (shrink)
A brilliant and accessible rebuttal of The God Delusion from one of Christianity's most incisive thinkers In this, his first new book since the best-selling God: A Guide for the Perplexed (Oneworld, 2002), Keith Ward turns his attention to the role - and the validity of religion over the centuries and in the world today. His erudite yet informative and factual narrative outlines the various attempts that have been made throughout history to explain religion, including the anthropological, psychological, sociological and (...) philosophical theories of key thinkers from Immanuel Kant to Sigmund Freud. Adopting a comparative approach, the book covers all the religious traditions from West and East alike, concluding in a compelling manner that not only are the world faiths much more than a series of theoretical perspectives, but that, in the face of discord and violence, religious understanding retains more resonance than ever before within our global community. (shrink)
I argue that the co-existence of omnipotence, omniscience, and total evil forms an inconsistent triad. An omniscient being will know what it is like for anyone to feel pain, and since pain is undesirable, will not freely create pains which it would have to share. An omnipotent being would choose to be rational, and a purely rational being would choose what it believes to be good. It would in fact choose to be of supreme value, and thus would necessarily contain (...) all compossible values, including those of friendship and love. Therefore an omnipotent omniscient being cannot be evil. (shrink)
David Hume’s arguments against believing reports of miracles are shown to be very weak. Laws of nature, I suggest, are best seen not as exceptionless rules but as context-dependent realizations of natural powers. In that context miracles transcend the natural order not as "violations" but as intelligible realizations of a divine supernatural purpose. Miracles are not parts of scientific theory but can be parts of a web of rational belief fully consistent with science. (edited).
The causes of violence -- The corruptibility of all things human -- Religion and war -- Faith and reason -- Life after death -- Morality and the Bible -- Morality and faith -- The enlightenment, liberal thought and religion -- Does religion do more harm than good in personal life? -- What good has religion done?
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. (shrink)
In this book, eminent theologian Keith Ward takes a fresh look at the ancient philosophy of Idealism, connects it with findings in modern science, and shows that a combination of good science, good philosophy, and a passion for truth and goodness, can underpin religious faith. Going back to first principles, he argues for the Idealist view that all knowledge begins with experience. Critically examining the idealism of Plato, Kant, and Hegel, Ward shows how this philosophy is strengthened by a knowledge (...) of modern physics, and how it can lead to a new and vivid presentation of Christian faith. A work of philosophical rigour that makes clear the rational nature of belief in God, this book challenges the easy assumptions of materialism and the relativity of truth that undermine both science and religion. Ward writes in an accessible and readable style that gives new life and practical usefulness to idealist philosophy. (shrink)
This is the second book in a trilogy which explores major concepts in the four major scriptural faiths of the world: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. Part I dealt with Revelation, whilst this new book focuses on the question of creation. As well as looking at what modern thinkers across the world have had to say on the topic, the book also considers the insights of modern physics, and shows how the universe can be seen as the expression of the (...) mind and heart of God. (shrink)
The subject of religious diversity is of growing significance, with its associated problems of religious pluralism and inter-faith dialogue. Moreover, since the European Enlightenment, religions have had to face new, existential challenges. Is there a future for religions? How will they have to change? Can they co-exist peacefully? In this book, Keith Ward brings new insights to these questions. Applying historical and philosophical approaches, he explores how we can establish truth among so many diverse religions. He explains how religions have (...) evolved over time and how they are reacting to the challenges posed by new scientific and moral beliefs. A celebration of the diversity in the world's religions, Ward's timely book also deals with the possibility and necessity of religious tolerance and co-existence. (shrink)
My argument is that naturalism is too restricted and dogmatic an account of the many different sorts of entities and explanations that we employ in trying to understand our world. It is a faith rather than a mode of inquiry.
Nicholas Saunders claims that, in my view, divine action requires and is confined to indeterminacies at the quantum level. I try to make clear that, in speaking of “gaps” in physical causality, I mean that the existence of intentions entails that determining law explanations alone cannot give a complete account of the natural world. By “indeterminacy” I mean a general (not quantum) lack of determining causality in the physical order. Construing physical causality in terms of dispositional properties variously realized in (...) more or less creative ways in different contexts may be most helpful in developing an account of divine action. (shrink)
Religion is an important social force, both for good and evil, in the modern world. This book considers the main ways in which religion and society interact, and the ways in which the major world religions need to adapt themselves in the modern world. The author, a Christian theologian, describes the major types of religious community in the world, and proposes a radical vision of the church as a person-affirming, world-transforming society in the emerging global community of many faiths and (...) cultures. (shrink)
What is it to be ‘morally serious’? In one sense, it is quite obvious that a man who stands by his moral principles with difficulty and in face of many obstacles, even to the extent of giving his life rather than denying these principles, is a morally serious person. He might be contrasted with a man who gives up or modifies his moral principles whenever their implementation becomes difficult, or threatens to harm his interests; and this person might be called (...) morally frivolous. That is what moral seriousness is; but still, one might ask, what is it to be a morally serious man? What does it involve to be such a man? Is it just a sort of pathological obstinacy; even, perhaps, a misplaced conservatism in face of the facts, which clings to the principles it knows, whatever the cost? One cannot rule out such a possibility. But the martyr and the hero do not consider themselves to be merely obstinate. In the face of risk and even certain suffering, they typically regard it as of supreme importance to be obstinate in sustaining their principles. Something more is felt to be at stake than mere defence of the status quo. (shrink)
Kant approaches the problem of moral evil by recalling the general Critical doctrine that the free moral acts of human agents express a noumenal, timeless, choice, which is made once for all and is the ground of all temporal moral choices. The limitations of speculative reason in the sphere of religion are emphasised by Kant when he admits the existence of totally incomprehensible ‘holy mysteries’ in religion. Kant holds that every ecclesiastical faith, which is founded in some historical revelation, is (...) perhaps a means to bringing about the moral church; but such faiths must wither away, for claims to revelation are incompatible with universality. Kant is totally opposed to any devotional exercises to God, except as a means to cultivating the moral disposition; or to any characterisation of God in anthropomorphic terms, as a tyrant or ruler with an arbitrary will. (shrink)
There are many moral qualities which are valued in men. But the question of virtue, of the moral worth of the person as an agent, is quite a different question from that of whether or not he possesses these moral qualities. The problem with which Kant wrestled for many years was that of the nature of the relation between the ‘feeling’ and the ground or motivation of moral action. His Critical doctrine was that the moral feelings lie at the basis (...) of morality, as subjective conditions of our receptiveness to the concept of duty. The Critical doctrine was to allocate the moral feeling to the causality of reason in its practical use, and in that way deliver it from the subjectivism which Kant attributes to all feelings. In the Prize Essay Kant explicitly limits the task of philosophy, however provisionally, to the analytic one of exhibiting, in Newtonian fashion, the basic elements of experience. (shrink)
A CONSIDERATION OF J C MACKIE’S CLAIM THAT IT IS NEVER REASONABLE TO ACCEPT TESTIMONY TO THE OCCURRENCE OF A MIRACLE. I ARGUE THAT THIS CLAIM FAILS; BUT, BY EXAMINING THE CONCEPT OF MIRACLE AS A SAVING DISCLOSURE OF GOD, I SHOW WHY THE RATIONALITY OF ACCEPTING MIRACLES ON TESTIMONY IS UNLIKELY TO BE NEUTRALLY ESTABLISHABLE.
A short definitive account of Keith Ward's theology, based on the philosophy of Personal Idealism. It records Ward's views about God, revelation, the kingdom of God, life after death, the incarnation, atonement, and Trinity. In summary, it is a concise and clear account of most central Christian doctrines, formed in the light of modern science and Idealist philosophy.
A defense of the New Testament view that all things are to be united in Christ, which entails that the ultimate destiny of the universe, and of all that is in it, is to be united in God. Keith Ward argues that this conflicts with classical ideas of God as simple, impassible, and changeless—ideas that many modern theologians espouse, and which Ward subjects to careful and critical scrutiny. He defends the claim that the cosmos contributes something substantial to—and in that (...) way changes—the divine nature, and the cosmos is destined to manifest and express the essential creativity and relationality of a God of beatific, agapic, redemptive, and unitive love. (shrink)