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June 2009

The myth of secular tolerance

"The resurgence of religious violence at the start of the twenty-first century has reinforced the myth of secular tolerance – the notion that whereas religious believers are instinctively intolerant, tolerance comes naturally to the secular mind. This paper challenges the myth. It suggests that secular people are not immune from the temptation to persecute and vilify others, and argues that the Christian Gospel fostered the rise of religious toleration."

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I am a Christian

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin’.”
I’m whispering “I was lost,
Now I ‘m found and forgiven.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner
Who received God’s good grace, somehow!

- Maya Angelou

Great Books and Undergraduate Education

"In the opening of the first chapter of the Book of Proverbs, Solomon urges the young to acquire intellectual skills so that they can “understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.” With critical reading and thinking skills, they will be able to “know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice and equity (Proverbs 1:2-6). It seems to me that Solomon correctly identifies the means and the aims of higher education: an intellectual means to an ethical end. By grappling with the grammar, logic, diction, and rhetoric of texts, students develop intellectual skills that enable them to reach the aims of higher learning: the acquisition of wisdom and virtue, and the capability to seriously pursue knowledge and truth. These foundational means (acquiring critical intellectual skills) and ends (discerning spiritual, ethical, and epistemological realities) are readily met in reading and studying Great Books."

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Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion


The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion is an indispensable guide and reference source to the major themes, movements, debates and topics in philosophy of religion. A team of renowned international contributors provide sixty-five accessible entries organised into nine clear parts:

  • philosophical issues in world religions
  • key figures in philosophy of religion
  • religious diversity
  • the theistic conception of God
  • arguments for the existence of God
  • arguments against the existence of God
  • philosophical theology
  • Christian theism
  • recent topics in philosophy of religion.

Covering key world religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, and key figures such as Augustine, Aquinas and Kierkegaard, the book explores the central topics in theism such as the ontological, cosmological and teleological arguments for God's existence. Three final parts consider Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern orthodoxy and current debates including phenomenology, reformed epistemology, religious experience, and religion and science. This is essential reading for anyone interested in philosophy, religion and related disciplines.