This book seeks to provide an understanding of religion from the inside, so to speak – that is, from the point of view of someone who is committed to a religion. Aiming at increasing this understanding in readers who already have it and, where it is absent, at bringing about some degree of it without presupposing any religious commitment at all, the author identifies the conception of religion implicit in institutions that are indisputably religions, and draws attention to features of religions which make them unlike anything else in human life.
Material for the book’s themes is drawn from the five great world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. One theme which brings the uniqueness of religion very noticeably into view is an occupation with the question of what lies beyond death. Other themes given prominence in the book are religious experience, the idea of God, and human suffering.
Born and brought up in New Zealand, Selwyn Grave was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia from 1961 to 1981. Besides articles on philosophical and theological topics, he wrote The Scottish Philosophy of Common Sense (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1960); A History of Philosophy in Australia (University of Queensland Press, 1984) and Conscience in Newman’s Thought (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1989). Selwyn Grave died in 2002.
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