The Ideal in the World's Religions: Essays on the Person, Family, Society, and Environment

The Ideal in the World's Religions: Essays on the Person, Family, Society, and Environment

The Ideal in the World's Religions: Essays on the Person, Family, Society, and Environment

The Ideal in the World's Religions: Essays on the Person, Family, Society, and Environment

Synopsis

This timely volume examines the "ideal" of the individual, the family, society, and the environment from a variety of vantage points -- Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist and Zen Buddhist, Native American, Confucian, Taoist, Shinto, and the Goddess tradition. The Ideal argues forcefully for the ideals of a peaceful world, of respect for religious difference, of mindfulness, of ecology, and the resacralization of nature and the body. Although The Ideal makes clear the general support for the possibility of a global ethics, each tradition -- both within itself and between other traditions -- is faced with challenges. What the editors and the writers finally call for is a reshaping of established views if we are to survive and flourish in a postmodern world.

Excerpt

While the theme of the conference which spawned the essays in this volume was "realizing the ideal," it is unlikely that anyone understood his or her contribution to be a crisp and complete account of some intuitively evident "Ideal" without flaw or limitation. Rather, each of us engaged others in a spirit of genuine dialogue, that is to say, with humility and in search of yet greater insight into matters relating to the individual, the family, society, and the environment. Participants came from East Asia, India, Africa, Europe and North America, and represented religious traditions of many sorts, both "major" and "minor." Clearly, it was assumed that we could learn from each other, and that the "ideals" which we brought to the sessions would be enhanced through exposure to and interaction with differing "ideals" around the tables of discussion. All such encounters are experiments in religious and cultural pluralism, and assume that multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multireligious gatherings are intrinsically good for us, potentially yielding greater understanding, an enhanced respect for difference . . .

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