9780230108776

The New Sciences of Religion Exploring Spirituality from the Outside In and Bottom Up

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780230108776

  • ISBN10:

    0230108776

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-11-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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Summary

The New Sciences of Religionis a critical analysis of new scientific research on religious and spiritual phenomena. William Grassie takes a two-staged phenomenological approach working from the "outside in" and the "bottom up" without privileging at the outset any religious traditions or philosophical assumptions. Using insights from economics, evolutionary psychology, the neurosciences, and medicine, Grassie develops a complex and multifaceted understanding of religion as potentially functional and dysfunctional in specific contexts, differentially so for individuals and groups.The New Sciences of Religionthen asks what in religion and spirituality might also be true and profound when our received traditions are reinterpreted in light of contemporary sciences. In contrast to the New Atheists, Grassie argues for a concept of God-by-whatever-name that is fully compatible with contemporary science and the reinterpretation of traditional religions. In the end, there is no grand unified theory of religion and none of the many scientific explanations of religion preclude that religions have intuited, experienced, and discovered true and profound insights into the nature of ultimate reality and human existence. This is an original and compelling scientific interpretation of religion and also a religious interpretation of science that will challenge and delight students and scholars alike.

Author Biography

William Grassie is founder of the Metanexus Institute, which works to promote the constructive engagement of religion and science. Metanexus works with some four hundred universities in forty-five countries and publishes an award-winning online journal with over nine thousand subscribers. Grassie is a frequent contributor to the publication. He received his doctorate in religion from Temple University in 1994 and his B.A. from Middlebury College in 1979. Grassie has taught in a variety of positions at Temple University, Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania, City College of New York, and Pendle Hill. Prior to graduate school, Grassie worked for ten years in international relations and conflict resolution in Washington, D.C; Jerusalem, Israel; Berlin, Germany; and Philadelphia, PA. He is the recipient of a number of academic awards and grants from the American Friends Service Committee, the Roothbert Fellowship, and the John Templeton Foundation. In 2007-2008, Grassie served as a Senior Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Buddhist Studies at the University of Peradeniya in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Grassie serves on the Governing and Academic Boards of the Metanexus Institute. For more information, go to www.metanexus.net and www.grassie.net.

Table of Contents

PART I: RELIGION FROM THE OUTSIDE IN * The Challenge of Comparative Religion * The Old Sciences of Religion * The Economics of Religion * The Evolution of Religion * The Neurosciences of Religion * The Medicine of Religion * PART II: RELIGION FROM THE BOTTOM UP * The Narratives of Religion * The New Religion of Science * God-by-Whatever-Name * Reiterations and Reflections

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