Finding God among Our Neighbors
An Interfaith Systematic Theology
Publication Year: 2013
For too many students, Christian theology is learned in isolation from other religious traditions.
With this creative book, Kristin Johnston Largen places the work of Christian theology soundly within the interreligious dialogue that is the defining feature of our time. This supplemental theology text prepares students for the real task of understanding and articulating their Christian beliefs in a religiously and culturally diverse world.
Concentrating on the anchoring subjects of God, creation, and humanity, she explores these loci in the broader context of interreligious dialogue with Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam to better understand the Christian tradition. The result is a fascinating lens through which to view the essential teachings of theology, and an essential supplementary textbook for the theology classroom.
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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I have a great many people to thank for their support and assistance during the research and writing of this book. First and foremost, I want to thank the ATS Lilly Theological Research Grants program, which awarded me a faculty fellowship in 2011–2012 that supported my sabbatical travel to Israel and Palestine, India, Japan, and Turkey in the spring of 2012. This practical...
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Imagine that you are building a house. The first things that need to be put in place are the basics: the foundation, the walls, the roof. Only once these core pieces are set is it possible to attend to the interior aspects of the house: bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, curtains. These decorative pieces are not essential to the construction of the home, but they certainly make it a nicer place to live....
Part I. Introductions to World Religions
1. A Brief Introduction to Hinduism
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By design, I began writing this chapter in a particularly auspicious place: sitting on the roof of my hotel in Varanasi, India, looking out over the Ganges River. The city of Varanasi (formerly called Benares) is one of the holiest cities in India, believed to have been founded by the god Shiva. It is sanctified by its proximity to the river Ganges, which is worshiped as a goddess who has the...
2. A Brief Introduction to Judaism
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There is a famous Aesop’s fable about a fox and a lion, which goes something like this. A lion and a fox both lived in a forest. At first, whenever the fox would see the lion, he became exceedingly frightened and ran away, hiding himself in the woods. However, as time went on, the fox grew more accustomed to the lion’s presence, such that when the lion would pass by the fox would no...
3. A Brief Introduction to Buddhism
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In my experience, of all the major world religions, Christians tend to be the most positive, the most receptive toward Buddhism. I am sure there are a variety of reasons for this, but certainly one of the most important is that predominantly, the way in which Buddhism is understood and experienced in the West is as a philosophy—a way of life, rather than a competing religious...
4. A Brief Introduction to Islam
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I began writing this chapter in Istanbul, sitting on my hotel balcony, looking out on the Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus beyond, as the sun set behind me. It seemed to me then, and still seems to me now, a particularly apt place to start this chapter, for several reasons. First, of course, is that Istanbul is an overwhelmingly Muslim city: 99 percent of all people in Turkey are...
Part II. A Comparative Approach to Christian Theology
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The chapter has five main sections, organized under five different fundamental assertions Christian theology makes about God. As a part of each section, relevant doctrines from different religious traditions are introduced, inviting the reader to raise questions and make connections. At the conclusion of the chapter, there is a series of interreligious questions for further discussion and...
6. Human Being, Being Human
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Of the many things the Christian church says about the human being, there are three affirmations that stand at the core of any Christian anthropology. Sequentially, they are as follows: first, human beings are created good, in the image of God. This pronouncement of goodness is the first word God says to humanity, and this ontological goodness of human nature endures, in...
7. A Wild and Wonderful World
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In 1967, the journal Science published an article by Lynn White, titled “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.” In the course of his essay, White emphasized how Christianity and what he called “Christian axioms” continue to dominate Western thinking. And he asked the question, “What did Christians tell people about their relations with the environment?”1 In his view, the answer...
Index of Names and Subjects
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Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2013