Ways of Faith: An Introduction to Religion

Ways of Faith: An Introduction to Religion

Ways of Faith: An Introduction to Religion

Ways of Faith: An Introduction to Religion

Excerpt

The "steadily increasing interest in religion among thoughtful people" to which we alluded in the first edition has continued to manifest itself in many varying ways, both in the academic community and in the Western world in general. It is, perhaps, more necessary now than it was in 1953 to distinguish between the thoughtful concern for religion, on the one hand, and the wider, more mixed phenomenon, often called the "return to religion," which is so large a fact in contemporary society, on the other hand. But in both cases, the first duty of the academic community is critical examination and evaluation.

In our view it is desirable for the introductory student to be acquainted with the important varieties of religion, Eastern and Western. And students do well to begin with the study of Oriental religions in order to see how various and diverse the field of religion is. Yet the emphasis for the American student must properly lie with the Western faiths. Hence we have not hesitated to give major emphasis to the West. There is, thus, in this new edition, a somewhat more extensive treatment of Western religious traditions. We have sought, too, to take account of the "tacit religions" or "religious substitutes" which have assumed considerable importance in our time. We have also added a new chapter on Islam.

Our study aims to combine a historical (or comparative religion) approach to the subject with a philosophical-theological approach. In this respect our book is, we think, unique. The rigorous and comprehensive analysis and evalu-

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