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Title: A Wesleyan Open Inclusivist approach to religious diversity and New Atheism
Author: Devan, Benjamin Bradford
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 5743
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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Probing the “New Atheism” reveals not an isolated phenomenon, but a contemporary expression of a longer tradition of atheist advocacy and antagonism toward religion, beliefs about the Divine, and associated practices. Although not all critics of religion are atheists, and atheists display diversity among themselves, A Wesleyan Open Inclusivist Approach to Religious Diversity and New Atheism argues that New Atheists are sufficiently similar to religious people to be fruitfully approached utilizing conceptual tools that pertain to religious diversity, interaction, and dialogue. Specifically, it proposes that an optimistic Open Inclusivist attitude from the philosophy of religion, grounded by and employing methodological, biblical, historical, and ethical resources supplied and integrated by the Wesleyan tradition, is productive for approaching religious diversity issues that incorporate atheism and New Atheists. A Wesleyan variety of Open Inclusivism lessens or eliminates difficulties that competing paradigms from philosophy of religion exhibit, and eschews complications implicit or explicit to select Reformed, Catholic, and Universalist theologies. It coherently urges genuinely significant, reciprocal learning among religious believers and atheists and a hopeful urgency about salvation. Insisting that every person possesses sacred worth or inherent dignity, it undergirds ir/religious liberty and constructive attempts to persuade. It prods collaboration around common priorities, empowers prudent opposition where necessary, and operates in what John Wesley called the more excellent way of love. As one exemplar of ecumenical, Creedal, and evangelical Christianity; A Wesleyan Open Inclusivist Approach to Religious Diversity and New Atheism aims to interpret the Bible faithfully and to critically utilize historical precedents, reason, logic, and the sciences listening to existential and practical experience. Honoring each voice in conference, it effectively mediates ongoing dialogue on topics vital to atheism and religion, including the relationships of religion and science, problems of evil and suffering, and optimal ethical flourishing for physical as well as spiritual realities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
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