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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:RELIGION
  • SubGenre:Spirituality
  • Language:English
  • Pages:121
  • eBook ISBN:9781620950289

Beyond Dogmatism

How Mystery Matters

by R. E. Markham

Book Image Not Available
Overview
The ultimate mystery of all existence undermines the dogmatic thinking that has fueled human conflict for thousands of years. Ideologies of all varieties can inform and inspire, but when followers claim their convictions are absolutely true, the stage is set for conflict with those who don’t agree. The contemporary tensions among religious ideologies could be reduced if passages in revered texts were interpreted symbolically rather than literally.
Description
The ultimate mystery of all existence undermines the dogmatic thinking that has fueled human conflict for thousands of years. Ideologies of all varieties can inform and inspire, but when followers claim their convictions are absolutely true, the stage is set for conflict with those who don’t agree. The contemporary tensions among religious ideologies could be reduced if passages in revered texts were interpreted symbolically rather than literally. Dr. Markham elaborates on these themes and others in this provocative series of essays. Using personal anecdotes, he explains why he questions fundamentalist interpretations of Christianity and shares alternative views about God, heaven and hell, sin and salvation, soul, love, power, justice, and the tension between individualism and community. Essays may be read separately or sequentially, and make excellent resources for reflection by, and discussions among, those with different backgrounds and convictions. Reader comments include one from an American Baptist: “Intrigued, not insulted or intimidated,” one from a lifelong practicing Catholic: “Challenging, but it opened my mind,” and one from a woman who was baptized Episcopalian: “…….a thoughtful and sensitive book which will resonate with anyone who has struggled with the dichotomy of the resistance to dogma vs. the longing for certainty.”
About the author
A long-time professor of interdisciplinary studies at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Markham’s eclectic background includes studies in political science, sociology, philosophy, general semantics, Zen Buddhism, developmental psychology, existentialism and the theologies of Paul Tillich, Nikolai Berdyaev, and Thomas Merton. More recently, he has been impressed with books by Karen Armstrong, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and Elaine Pagels. Throughout his life, he has been fascinated with the ultimate mystery of all existence and how it challenges dogmatic thinking within all ideologies, whether secular or religious. In particular, he is convinced that greater awareness of mystery undermines fundamentalist perspectives on Christianity and contributes to varied and meaningful interpretations of Biblical passages. While questioning fundamentalism may be unsettling for some, he believes doing so need not lead to the chaos of extreme relativism. Instead of just “following the rules” on the one hand or saying “anything goes” on the other, reason can be applied to the challenges of particular circumstances in ways that result in creative and fruitful solutions.
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