Repairing Eden

Repairing Eden: Humility, Mysticism, and the Existential Problem of Religious Diversity

Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    Repairing Eden
    Book Description:

    In Repairing Eden, McLeod-Harrison describes this dilemma as an existential problem internal to the Christian faith. He suggests that Christian humility and Christian mysticism can provide a joint path toward a kind of metaphysical certainty - the mystic path, the path of bearing one's own cross - that can become a means of more deeply knowing God. Repairing Eden weaves theology, philosophy, and pastoral concerns into a spiritual-philosophical solution to a deeply important challenge to Christian faith.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7303-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Saranindranath Tagore

    We live in a world where religious beliefs have great force and where these beliefs diverge and, in many cases, conflict. A Hindu believes in reincarnation, while a Christian believes in resurrection; a Buddhist is not a theist, while a Muslim is a strict monotheist, and so on. The fact of multiple religions generates the theoretical and the existential problem of religious diversity. The theoretical approach takes the detached, philosophical point of view and attempts to consolidate the epistemological and metaphysical implications of religious diversity. The existential approach, on the other hand, assumes a particular religious position and develops a...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xv-2)

    Religious diversity is a mammoth theme. It becomes no less formidable when one adds humility and mysticism alongside for consideration. What is to be said about a book that notes humility, mysticism, and religious diversity in its title? Surely its topics are too broad for such a relatively short work. I admit the truth of this judgment. The subjects are broad, and deeply rooted in our cultural histories, no matter our culture, our religion, or our personal stories. Such a book needs a context, an explanation, a bit of intellectual autobiography - a “placing” in its author's own history. This...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Reality and Religion: Identifying the Existential Problem of Religious Diversity
    (pp. 3-17)

    The problems surrounding religious diversity are many, complex, and difficult. In this first chapter, my goals are to identify the particular problem of religious diversity on which this work focuses and to explain the commitment vis-à-vis reality held by certain Christians. Section 1 briefly explains what is at stake in various kinds of theories of reality. Section 2, continues by defining how I use the term “religion” and specifying a certain kind of exclusivism. Section 3 spells out what I call the “existential problem of religious diversity,” while section 4 provides a map for the remainder of the book.


  7. CHAPTER TWO An Epistemic Basis of Religious Diversity
    (pp. 18-44)

    The purpose of this chapter is to clarify why the various religions, especially the various theistic religions, exist. Of course, there are cultural and historical explanations, and ultimately theological or religious explanations, should at least one of the religions be true, but I want to look at the genesis of religions in the (religious) experience of the founders and their followers. My purpose in this chapter, then, is not to deal with the problem of diversity as an historical or cultural or even religious issue but as an epistemic one. I seek to explain why competing religions exist, especially the...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Idolatry and the Testing of One’s Faith
    (pp. 45-69)

    That there is a problem for the one-path realist Christian is difficult to deny. That the problem has epistemic roots is explicable, given that religious beliefs are, by and large, generated in, and justified by, religious experiences. In this chapter, I begin to develop a Christian solution to the problem, a solution that takes the biblical witness seriously, yet also keeps an eye on the epistemic roots of the issue.

    Section 1 briefly revisits the issue of religious diversity. Section 2, develops an epistemic interpretation of the Garden of Eden. Sin and diversity are considered together in section 3. Section...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR An Analysis of Humility
    (pp. 70-85)

    Humility plays a central and important role in a Christian relationship to God. Both scripture and experience lend credibility to this centrality. The Garden story portrays humanity as falling from a state of innocence into a state of knowledge of good and evil because of a lack of humility. As I argued in chapter three, this knowledge was too much for us to handle; it was knowledge beyond our ontological capacity. Knowledge itself is not bad, either ontically or ethically. But knowledge that we cannot handle - eitherquahuman orquathe unique human that I am - is...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE The Humility of Jesus and the Christian Tradition
    (pp. 86-106)

    The preceding chapter has shown that freedom turns out to be essential for humility, both in terms of understanding humility as well as in terms of being humble. What role does freedom play? Since we are concerned in particular with Christian humility, we shall consider the example of Jesus as well as the account of one other Christian thinker. Thus, the humility of Jesus is considered in section 1. Section 2 explores Thomas à Kempis on humility.

    Let it be said at the outset that the view discussed in chapter four is only partly correct. I suggest in the following...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Humility, Mysticism, and the Existential Problem of Religious Diversity
    (pp. 107-130)

    I have suggested that, for the Christian, one appropriate response to the existential problem of religious diversity is faithfulness and continued acceptance of the faith. These are within our control, unlike belief, which may wax and wane outside our control. In the last two chapters I argued that attitudinal humility is likewise something within our control and that free will is powerful – powerful enough to thwart God. However, we can use our free will to gain humility and its true account of the self, and thus to open new possibilities for ourselves. In this final chapter, I want to consider...

  12. APPENDIX: The Challenge of Religious Diversity, Again?
    (pp. 131-132)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 133-140)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 141-144)
  15. Index
    (pp. 145-148)