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Beyond Belief
Philosophy & Religion
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Description: The current age marks the transition from modernity to postmodernity, a period as impactful to the Western sensibility as any previous era. The role of religion and the future of Christianity are at stake. At this time of transition, many thoughtful individuals find themselves at a quandary, having reached a ""critical stage"" in their spiritual journey. Prompted by academia, science, reason, culture, and their own experience, they feel compelled to choose between the beliefs they inherited as children and the claims of science, reason, pluralism, and secularism. Beyond Belief suggests that one need not take an either/or approach on these issues; there is a better way, one that embraces adventure and ambiguity, science and religion, reason and faith, evolution and creation, and finds ways to live creatively with realities for which there are no easy explanations. Building on a paradigmatic journey of faith that involves three stages (precritical, critical, and postcritical understanding), Beyond Belief describes the quest for God and for authentic faith in the twenty-first century. The key point for this understanding is to replace belief with faith, acknowledging that belief in doctrines is not central, since they are themselves unprovable. This new theological perspective requires rethinking many of our cherished doctrines, including our understanding of God, Jesus, Scripture, prayer, miracles, and revelation. Endorsements: ""Thoughtfulness and breadth distinguish Beyond Belief. What I suspect started as an essay on science and faith grew into a broad theological reflection on God, history, the Bible, and personal experience. This book lays out many challenges encountered by thoughtful Christians and argues for a 'post-critical understanding' of Christianity on the basis of these challenges. Vande Kappelle's broad personal history has produced a book with a remarkable spectrum of sources."" --Joel W. Cannon, Professor of Physics, Washington & Jefferson College ""Socrates said, 'The unexamined life is not worth living.' Beyond Belief demonstrates that an unexamined faith is not worth following. Vande Kappelle does a masterful job with a complicated and controversial topic without sacrificing his integrity or his faith story. This is a man who has experienced God in so many ways that he is discovering he can never experience all of God."" --Daniel A. Stinson, cleric, college instructor, and international tour host ""Religion constantly evolves, as does one's thought. Likewise, Torah is ongoing and never static. Beyond Belief reflects a way of thinking that is found in modern Orthodox Judaism, whereby a synthesis exists between religion and secular knowledge."" --Rabbi David C. Novitsky, Beth Israel Synagogue About the Contributor(s): Robert P. Vande Kappelle is College Chaplain and Chair of Religious Studies at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including the volumes that comprise his ""Adventures in Spirituality"" trilogy: Love Never Fails (2006), The Invisible Mountain (2010), and Into Thin Places (2011). He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).


© 2012
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