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God, Freedom and Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centered Culture

Ron Highfield
God, Freedom and Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centered Culture
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God, Freedom and Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centered Culture

Ron Highfield

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Does God's all-encompassing will restrict our freedom? Does God's ownership and mastery over us diminish our dignity? The fear that God is a threat to our freedom and dignity goes far back in Western thought. Such suspicion remains with us today in our so-called secular society. In such a context any talk of God tends to provoke responses that range from defiance to subservience to indifference. How did Western culture come to this place? What impact does this social and intellectual environment have on those who claim to believe in God or more specifically in the Christian God of the Bible? Professor of religion Ron Highfield traces out the development of Western thought that has led us our current frame of mind from Plato, Augustine and Descartes through Locke, Kant, Blake Bentham, Hegel, Nietzsche--all the way down to Charles Taylor's landmark work Sources of the Self. At the heart of the issue is the modern notion of the autonomous self and the inevitable crisis it provokes for a view of human identity, freedom and dignity found in God. Can the modern self really secure its own freedom, dignity and happiness? What alternative do we have? Highfield makes pertinent use of trinitarian theology to show how genuine Christian faith responds to this challenge by directing us to a God who is not in competition with his human creations, but rather who provides us with what we seek but could never give ourselves. God, Freedom and Human Dignity is essential reading for Christian students who are interested in the debates around secularism, modernity and identity formation.

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About "God, Freedom and Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centered Culture"

Does God's all-encompassing will restrict our freedom? Does God's ownership and mastery over us diminish our dignity? The fear that God is a threat to our freedom and dignity goes far back in Western thought. Such suspicion remains with us today in our so-called secular society. In such a context any talk of God tends to provoke responses that range from defiance to subservience to indifference. How did Western culture come to this place? What impact does this social and intellectual environment have on those who claim to believe in God or more specifically in the Christian God of the Bible? Professor of religion Ron Highfield traces out the development of Western thought that has led us our current frame of mind from Plato, Augustine and Descartes through Locke, Kant, Blake Bentham, Hegel, Nietzsche--all the way down to Charles Taylor's landmark work Sources of the Self. At the heart of the issue is the modern notion of the autonomous self and the inevitable crisis it provokes for a view of human identity, freedom and dignity found in God. Can the modern self really secure its own freedom, dignity and happiness? What alternative do we have? Highfield makes pertinent use of trinitarian theology to show how genuine Christian faith responds to this challenge by directing us to a God who is not in competition with his human creations, but rather who provides us with what we seek but could never give ourselves. God, Freedom and Human Dignity is essential reading for Christian students who are interested in the debates around secularism, modernity and identity formation.
- Publisher

Meet the Author

Ron Highfield

Ron Highfield (PhD., Rice University) is Blanche E. Seaver Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, and the author of Barth and Rahner: Toward an Ecumenical View of Sin and Evil and Great Is the Lord: Theology for the Praise of God.

Table Of Contents

  • Preface
  • part 1: The Me-centered Self
  • 1. How The Me-centered World Was Born
  • Searching For Identity In A Secular Age
  • The Development Of Inwardness
  • Ren Descartes And Disengaged Reason
  • John Locke And The Punctual Self
  • The Moral Space Of Inwardness
  • Affirmation Of Ordinary Life
  • John Locke And His Friends
  • The Moral Space Of The Affirmation Of Ordinary Life
  • The Inner Voice Of Nature
  • The Moral Space Of The Expressive View Of Nature
  • Realistic Expectations
  • The Self In A Culture Set Adrift
  • The Emotivist Self
  • The End Of Ends And The Enlightenment Quest
  • Speaking Of Christianity In A Post-christian Culture
  • Looking Ahead
  • 2. Defiance: The Promethean Dimension Of The Modern Self
  • Prometheus: The Myth
  • Prometheus: The Metaphor
  • 3. Subservience: The Religion Of Idols, Hypocrites And Hirelings
  • Default Religion
  • The Wish Reveals The Heart
  • The Original Sin
  • The Unoriginal Sin
  • Critics Of Default Religion
  • The Bible
  • Modern Critics
  • A Medieval Critic
  • 4. Indifference: A Study In Thoughtlessness
  • The Idea And Practice Of Indifference
  • Ways Of Being Indifferent
  • The Esthetic
  • The Conformist
  • The Celebrity
  • The Agnostic
  • The Indifferent God Of Indifference
  • Retrospective On The Three Attitudes
  • 5. The Disquieting God Of The Modern Self
  • The Superhuman God
  • The Superhuman Being’s Powers
  • Omnipotence Feared
  • Omnipresence Dreaded
  • The Superhuman God’s Inner Self
  • The Empty Self
  • The Self As Will
  • 6. The Secret Aspirations Of The Modern Self
  • What Is Freedom?
  • Self-realization
  • Self-determination
  • Self-perfection
  • The General Idea Of Freedom
  • Competitive Freedom
  • The Modern Concept Of Human Dignity
  • Ambitions Of The Empty Self
  • 7. Some Unwelcome Limits On Freedom And Dignity
  • Freedom’s Finitude
  • In Search Of Dignity
  • The Fragmented Self
  • part 2: The God-centered Self
  • 8. The Self-giving God Of The Gospel
  • The Gift Of Creation
  • The Sacrifice Of Divine Love
  • Divine Dignity
  • The True Divine Self
  • 9. The Irony Of Divine “weakness”
  • Misunderstanding God’s Omnipotence
  • Divine Persuasion
  • 10. The Awakening Presence
  • Another Look At Power
  • Presence
  • Divine Knowledge And Human Selfhood
  • Divine Knowledge And Self-knowledge
  • A Backward Glance And A Forward Look
  • 11. A New Way Of Being Human Being
  • The Temptations Of Christ
  • The Last Temptation
  • 12. The Divine Adoption
  • Our Father In Heaven
  • Abba, Father
  • What Does Being A Child Of God Mean?
  • Be Perfect As Your Father In Heaven Is Perfect
  • 13. The Emergence Of God-centered Identity
  • The Self And Freedom
  • The True Self And The “other”
  • The Old And New Selves
  • Adam And Christ
  • The Inner “other”
  • The Human And Divine Selves
  • Conclusion
  • 14. The Freedom Of The Children Of God
  • Freedom Perfected
  • Freedom As The Power Of A New Life
  • Freedom As A Gift
  • Freedom Here And Now
  • Christian Freedom As The Perfection Of Freedoms
  • 15. God’s Love As The Ground And Measure Of Human Dignity
  • Dignity In The Church Fathers And Medieval Theology
  • Dignity Without Limits
  • Pride And Shame
  • Dignity And Love
  • Human Dignity As A Relation To God
  • Dignity And Envy
  • 16. The Reconciliation Of Heaven And Earth
  • Competition Transcended
  • A Life Of Faith, Hope And Love
  • The Modern Self Reborn
  • Prometheus Unbound
  • Religion Purified
  • Stage-three Religion
  • Stage-four Religion
  • Indifference Transformed
  • Conclusion
  • Indexes

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 369740
  • Product Code 9780830827114
  • ISBN 0830827110
  • EAN 9780830827114
  • Pages 227
  • Department Academic
  • Category Theology
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Intervarsity Press Usa
  • Publication Date Mar 2013
  • Sales Rank #57838
  • Dimensions 228 x 152 x 17 mm
  • Weight 0.363kg

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