A Far Glory: The Quest for Faith in an Age of Credulity

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9780029029305: A Far Glory: The Quest for Faith in an Age of Credulity

In this discussion of social and religious ideas, Berger discusses such issues as the meaning and consequences of secularization and pluralism, the status of the self, the link between faith and identity, the meaning of transcendent experience, and the problem of moral action.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Unfocused but frequently brilliant disquisition on Christianity in relation to society. Berger (Institute for the Study of Economic Culture/Boston Univ.) starts from the premise that Christianity ``is not of this world.'' Transcendent in origin, it is necessarily in opposition to the ``wisdom of the age,'' the cultural norms of any given century and civilization. How, then, can Christians come to terms with society? The effort is ``difficult, frantic, and more than a little ridiculous.'' Yet it must be made, for we are children of our age. Berger counsels a middle path between rejection of the world (evangelical Protestantism) and surrender to it (secular society). He scorns ``cognitive bargaining'' with nonbelievers, warning that ``one needs a very long spoon indeed if one is to dine with the devil of doubt.'' In America, Berger discerns a new middle class, ``the knowledge class,'' which will forge new compromises between state and religion. He sees great opportunity for revitalization in religious pluralism, noting that every part of the globe is ``furiously religious''--with the curious exception of Western Europe--but he urges Christians to adhere to their fundamental values. The best interreligious dialogue is ``contestation,'' for ``truth resists relativization.'' As for what Christians believe, Berger ruminates on the first words of the Creed (``I believe in one God''), and finds in them an affirmation of individualism, ``faith in the ultimate benignness of the universe,'' and the reality of a God who encompasses ``plenitude'' and ``emptiness.'' Too much crammed into too little space, but most of it caviar. The flowering of American neoconservative religious thought (see also Richard John Neuhaus's Doing Well and Doing Good, below), notorious for its acumen, wit, and cockiness, continues unabated. -- Copyright 1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

The search for a deep faith, according to Berger, may disrupt Americans' "standard operating procedures of pragmatic, problem-solving, essentially optimistic living. In this erudite inquiry, the eminent sociologist of religion, himself a Protestant believer, steers a middle course between the certitude of orthodoxy on the one hand and total relativism on the other. Berger affirms the value of the solitary I over and above all communal or collective attachments. Applying sociological theory, he views religion as a cognitive enterprise meant to define the nature of reality and argues that the rejection of cultural pluralism by some Evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics amounts to western ethnocentricism. He further urges Christians to engage in dialogue with adherents to Hinduism and Buddhism, the latter of which he regards as a fountainhead of the great monotheistic faiths. Those who seek signals of transcendence in everyday experience will find encouragement in Berger's searching essay.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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