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Glenn Tinder here provides a refreshing look at liberty from a Christian standpoint, where Christianity is construed as open and communicative rather than dogmatic. Liberty Reconsidered lies at the intersection of several major themes - communication, human fallenness, the necessity of liberty, standing alone, and eschatology. Each is considered in light of learning what liberty truly is and how it will affect the world around it. Tinder freely admits that he approaches the idea of liberty from a combination of pervasive pessimism and strong optimism. For example, he sees and argues for the necessity of liberty in order to create community of any kind, but also shows that liberty is not likely to bring happiness and social harmony. The final chapter of Liberty Reconsidered deals with eschatology. Here Tinder says that community in any full and comprehensive sense would be the kingdom of God - not to be realized in history. Therefore to be devoted to a communal liberty is to maintain an eschatological stance. It is to look toward the end of history. Liberty Reconsidered provides an intriguing discussion on the truth of liberty - a discussion Tinder hopes will be ongoing and fruitful.
Liberty is a dangerous concept. It??'s sure to be misused and, if left unchecked, will likely bring not social harmony and happiness but their opposites. Nonetheless, liberty is absolutely necessary: without it there can be no authentic community. People are not free to do the right thing unless they are free to do the wrong thing; if they can???t be wrong, they can???t be right.
Thus does Glenn Tinder, in this provocative work, argue emphatically for ???negative liberty??? ? the liberty that wants primarily to be left alone, with the authorities interfering as little as possible in the lives of people ? and against ???positive liberty??? ? a liberty that seeks to guide people into a ???fulfilling??? life.
One of America's major thinkers on Civic life, Tinder approaches the ideal of liberty with a blend of pervasive pessimism and strong optimism. He writes from an open, nondogmatic Christian point of view, believing strongly in reason and in the primary importance of free communication and dialogue, and he insists that Christians can learn from such non-Christians as Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx.
The substance of Tinder??'s book lies at the intersection of several major themes ? communication, human fallenness, the necessity of liberty, standing alone, and eschatology ? each considered in light of learning what liberty truly is and how it will affect the world at large.
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