Global Philosophy of Religion:
A Short Introduction

 
     
 


  Reviews

"This book boldly goes to the heart of the matter. . .In so doing it opens up contemporary discourse to an exciting possibility, that the rational and nonrational dimensions of existence, far from being incompatible may be fully intelligible only when taken together."
                                                                  --Arvind Sharma, McGill University

"This ambitious textbook places philosophy of religion in worldwide context. It makes good use of resources from a variety of theistic and non theistic religious traditions while covering the full range of topics on a standard introductory course. It should be especially attractive to philosophy teachers who need course materials that will appeal to religiously diverse groups of students."
                                                                  --Philip Quinn, University of Notre Dame

"Runzo is abundantly successful in showing the importance (and the limits) of argument in matters of religion. I don’t know another book that does this with as much success over such a range of materials."
                                                                  --Paul J. Griffiths, University of Chicago

"This is an extremely useful and reliable introduction to the philosophy of religion...it will be invaluable for schools and introductory college courses."
                                                                  --Professor Keith Ward, Oxford University

"Succeeds admirably in conveying the philosophical and practical issues raised by the interconnected world in which many religions coexist. Highly recommended."
                                                                  --Library Journal

"Oneworld's strong presence in today's religious book market includes a series of short histories and introductions to religions and religious questions, to which these two recent volumes are welcome additions. An authority on Hinduism and comparative religion, Coward (Univ. of Victoria) here revises his 1985 survey of the great religions' approaches to pluralism by updating chapters, adding the Baha'i faith, and revising his conclusions. He examines the response of six religions to pluralism and the future of religious dialog. The only criticism of this work is that it oversimplifies complexities and, in the Baha'i case, may not have understood the underlying worldview that permits both respectful dialog and the search for converts. Runzo (Chapman Univ. & Cambridge Univ.), who is widely published on religious pluralism, reviews the major arguments and issues in religious philosophy from a global perspective. He covers the various approaches that religions take toward each other and toward arguments for and against God's existence, theodicy, life after death, science, morality, and love. Helpful text boxes present the main philosophical arguments. Both authors succeed admirably in conveying to the student and educated lay reader the philosophical and practical issues raised by the interconnected world in which many religions coexist. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries of all sizes."
                                                                  --Library Journal (William P. Collins)

"…[C]ongratulations are due to the publisher of these two books [Runzo’s Global Philosophy of Religion and Thiselton’s A Concise Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion] which open up a broad span of religious and philosophical inquiry. They will interest those who take the Pope’s words seriously and seek to understand their own religion better by discovering how man in his different cultures has sought out transcendence, and bears witness to the fact that the wind of the Spirit bloweth where it listeth...Joseph Runzo’s Global Philosophy of Religion... [a]ddressed to a skeptical age...examines a wide variety of topics, starting with an overview of world religions and then examining metaphysics, monotheism, the problem of evil and the scientific arguments related to religion in the light of the different religious traditions. Runzo rejects the possibility of a common philosophy of religion; with the Pope he is not interested in finding the lowest common denominator, but in examining the similarities and the dissimilarities of the insights of men in their search for God."
                                                                  --Catholic Herald

"Does God exist? If so, is it possible for God to be male or female? Do we survive our physical deaths? What is religion and what purpose does it serve? Does life have any sort of meaning? All of these questions and more are topics in the philosophy of religion, the subject of the recent and worthwhile book 'Global Philosophy of Religion' by Joseph Runzo.
          People often discuss these issues without realizing that they are dealing with the philosophy of religion - and unfortunately, most people don't do a very good job when such questions come up. They would benefit greatly from a better grasp of facts and arguments which have long been part of these topics, and that is exactly what Runzo provides in his recent book...[H]is purpose is to explain to people how to better reason about religion. Because of this, he specifically addresses himself to both believers and nonbelievers equally....
          What this means is that, unlike many other introductions to the philosophy of religion, Runzo does not adopt a perspective which is particular to Western monotheistic religions - Christianity and Judaism in particular. Today, in the 21st century, it simply isn't possible to approach religion in such an insular manner while ignoring the challenges posed by other religious traditions.
          It should be emphasized that this is not just an empty slogan for Runzo; on the contrary, he puts it into practice throughout the book as he makes use of ideas from non-Christian religions and philosophies....
          Why should you consider buying this book? Everyone who seriously discusses religion would benefit from a deeper understanding of the philosophical problems and issues involved. Runzo's book is one of the best ways to accomplish that - even though the topics he addresses are very difficult, he manages to make them comprehensible. That doesn't mean that this book doesn't require some attention and thinking, but that effort will be richly rewarded."
                                                                  --Austin Cline, Agnosticism/Atheism, About.com

Global Philosophy of Religion was also reviewed favorably along side the novel The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, winner of  the Booker Prize :

"I was reflecting on the impact of this fascinating tale [The Life of Pi] when another remarkable book came into my hands. Global Philosophy of Religion by Professor Joseph Runzo (Oneworld), looks at different religious beliefs.
          The author points out that religion gets a very bad press these days. Followers of Freud insist that it is all wishful thinking on the part of people who want to invent a false sense of security. While this may be true for some, says Runzo, these accounts do not give a wholly satisfactory answer.
          'Genuine religion is fundamentally a search for meaning beyond materialism,' he writes. This theme chimes in with The Life of Pi.
          Runzo says that the world religions attempt to provide a structure for a journey of faith. Material things alone cannot sustain us. Scientific explanations of the world can give us illumination, but are not entirely satisfying.
          Faith, of course, can become dangerous when it proclaims false certainties and becomes fanatical. Joseph Runzo would agree with Yann Martel’s view: 'Fanatics do not have faith—they have belief. With faith, you let go. You trust. Whereas with belief you cling.'
          Martel and Runzo—one by means of a magical novel, the other by means of an excellent piece of philosophical reflection—point us to the truth that life holds many mysteries that cannot be explained in strictly factual terms."
                                                                  --Ron Ferguson, Press & Journal (UK)

 

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