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Religion and the Meaning of Life

An Existential Approach

Clifford Williams (Trinity International University, Illinois)

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Cambridge University Press
09 April 2020
As humans, we want to live meaningfully, yet we are often driven by impulse. In Religion and the Meaning of Life, Williams investigates this paradox - one with profound implications. Delving into felt realities pertinent to meaning, such as boredom, trauma, suicide, denial of death, and indifference, Williams describes ways to acquire meaning and potential obstacles to its acquisition. This book is unique in its willingness to transcend a more secular stance and explore how one's belief in God may be relevant to life's meaning. Religion and the Meaning of Life's interdisciplinary approach makes it useful to philosophers, religious studies scholars, psychologists, students, and general readers alike. The insights from this book have profound real-world applications - they can transform how readers search for meaning and, consequently, how readers see and exist in the world.
By:   Clifford Williams (Trinity International University Illinois)
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 227mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 11mm
Weight:   290g
ISBN:   9781108432986
ISBN 10:   1108432980
Series:   Cambridge Studies in Religion, Philosophy, and Society
Pages:   200
Publication Date:   09 April 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Clifford Williams is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Trinity International University. He is the author of Free Will and Determinism: A Dialogue (1980) and Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith (2011).

Reviews for Religion and the Meaning of Life: An Existential Approach

'An insightful exploration of what makes life meaningful, and its connections with belief in a God of the sort worshipped by the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions.' T. J. Mawson, University of Oxford 'Though life's meaning is on the map in analytic philosophy in ways it has never been before, philosophers who write from an explicitly religious persuasion occupy a relatively small portion of the field. Clifford Williams's new book is a welcome addition that is, at once, analytically rigorous, existentially attuned, and religiously thoughtful. Unlike many other works on life's meaning, it treats this topic with the vitality it rightly deserves, engaging desires of both heart and mind. Williams demonstrates a deep understanding of the human condition, the widespread hunger for meaning, and the unique and powerful ways that religion can satiate that hunger.' Joshua Seachris, University of Notre Dame, Indiana 'Written with analytic acumen and empathic warmth, this engaging book is a must read for all those interested in the meaning of life. This is the first book on the meaning of life focused on the description of experiences that reveal obstacles to meaning, as well as the paths to attain it.' Mirela Oliva, University of St. Thomas, Texas 'This book thoughtfully explores issues related to the meaning of life from a religious perspective without being dogmatic. Because of this, it should be of great interest to those concerned with how spirituality intersects with meaningfulness. The book constitutes a significant contribution towards one of the important dialogues of our era: between secular and religious conceptions of our lives as humans.' Garrett Thomson, College of Wooster, Ohio 'An insightful exploration of what makes life meaningful, and its connections with belief in a God of the sort worshipped by the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions.' T. J. Mawson, University of Oxford 'Though life's meaning is on the map in analytic philosophy in ways it has never been before, philosophers who write from an explicitly religious persuasion occupy a relatively small portion of the field. Clifford Williams's new book is a welcome addition that is, at once, analytically rigorous, existentially attuned, and religiously thoughtful. Unlike many other works on life's meaning, it treats this topic with the vitality it rightly deserves, engaging desires of both heart and mind. Williams demonstrates a deep understanding of the human condition, the widespread hunger for meaning, and the unique and powerful ways that religion can satiate that hunger.' Joshua Seachris, University of Notre Dame, Indiana 'Written with analytic acumen and empathic warmth, this engaging book is a must read for all those interested in the meaning of life. This is the first book on the meaning of life focused on the description of experiences that reveal obstacles to meaning, as well as the paths to attain it.' Mirela Oliva, University of St. Thomas, Texas 'This book thoughtfully explores issues related to the meaning of life from a religious perspective without being dogmatic. Because of this, it should be of great interest to those concerned with how spirituality intersects with meaningfulness. The book constitutes a significant contribution towards one of the important dialogues of our era: between secular and religious conceptions of our lives as humans.' Garrett Thomson, College of Wooster, Ohio


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