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Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth [Paperback]

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Item Number 161759  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   180
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.64" Width: 6.18" Height: 0.47"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 19, 1992
Publisher   Touchstone
ISBN  0020641400  
EAN  9780020641407  

Availability  82 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 08:00.
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Item Description...
Only if, with regard to the diversity of religions, there are questions about truth and falsehood do we have a problem about the pluralism of religions and the unity of truth.

That problem is not concerned with preserving religious liberty, freedom of worship, and the toleration, in a particular society or in the world, of a diversity of religious institutions, communities, practices, and beliefs. It is concerned only with the question of where, in that diversity, the truth lies if there is any truth in religion at all.

Buy Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth by Mortimer Jerome Adler from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780020641407 & 0020641400

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Book that Started Me Thinking...  Dec 22, 2007
When I read this book, I was already - perhaps only instinctively - one who recognized the incoherence of pluralism. Every time I heard some platitude about how "All roads lead to God," I knew that such comments were likely wishful thinking rather than conclusions based on evidence or logic.

As a Protestant, Adler's sound arguments were a bit uncomfortable. Familiar with several Protestant denominations, I recall sitting in my own service thinking, "Obviously, all of these denominations cannot be right." After all, there were differing views of baptism, communion, women leaders and other doctrines. My friends of various denominations assured me that, "It doesn't matter as long as you believe in Jesus." We were preaching Protestant Christian pluralism.

It was a little while longer before I was received into the Holy Catholic Church, but this book was what started the process.
Is Religion a question of truth ... or of taste?  Oct 13, 2006
Mortimer Adler, the American philosopher and former Chairman of the board of editors for the Encyclopedia Britannica, was a very prolific writer and teacher. He died in 2001, at the age of 98, and was active until the very end of his life. He wrote this particular book when he was 88. As the Wikipedia encyclopedia says "Adler long strove to bring philosophy to the masses".

In this short (160 pages) book Adler investigates what it says in the title: Truth in Religion. The sub-title is "the plurality of religions and the unity of truth". Adler brings some elemental logic to the discussion. For example: while it is possible that no religion may contain the truth, it is a contradiction to hold that all religions contain the truth. This is because of the conflicting and contradictory views that different religions hold regarding God, the cosmos, and human nature, as well as about how human beings should conduct their lives.

Is religion a matter of taste, or a matter of truth? Adler makes the point that in matters of taste -I'm wearing a yellow shirt today, but maybe I look better in blue - there is no disputing (another way of saying it is "There's no accounting for taste"), but in questions of truth, we have to have recourse to the effort to reach agreement about what is true and false.

Adler offers very cogent critiques of Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth) and theologian Hans Kung (Theology for the Third Millenium: an Ecumenical View). He's not impressed with the positions of either of them.

As he does in all of his books, Adler is very careful to lay out his arguments, and he offers many interesting insights. For example, on the issue of world peace, he makes the point that you can only have world peace if you have some sort of world government. BUT a prerequisite for world government is that a world cultural community come into existence, and with it a universal religion adopted worldwide. He points out that if religion is merely a matter of taste and not truth, this can never come about.

So, a good, short book, and a worthwhile read. To see how Adler ultimately came to a personal conclusion about the truth of religion (and he was in his nineties!), go to the wikipedia article mentioned above.

ADDENDUM: I don't want to give the impression that Adler was intolerant. Quite the contrary - he believed in dialogue to find truth. And he felt that most all the major religions shared what he called "prescriptive truth" or moral values.
If I could have everyone on the book read one book...  Sep 20, 2005
It would be this one, without a doubt. First, though, I can't help but comment on the comical Publisher's Weekly review which calls the book "parochial," "dogmatic," "controversial," and "devisive." Apart from not being able to spell "divisive" the author of that review must find controversial the idea that an indicative proposition can't be both true and false at the same time and the same sense. Or is that the dogmatic point? One wonders if the reviewer thinks her charges true (and that's different than "wanders" for the Pub Weekly folks). Perhaps, consistent with subjectivism, the reviewer is just expressing her taste--I don't like truth-claims--just as she perhaps doesn't like spam and eggs. But then why does her expressing her opinion on the pages of Publisher's Weekly count as journalism, but Adler expressing his in a treatise count as dogmatism. Apparently "dogmatism" only applies to *unfashionable* opinions.

At any rate, the book is a crucial corrective to the sickness of our times: the subjectivisation of religion. Bring me a good atheist any day, but keep the subjectivism to yourself (it only seems appropriate, doesn't it?). This book has some really neat features including a nice little primer on logic. The main target is the likes of Joseph Campbell who defines a religion as a myth mistakenly believed to be true. (Try telling that to Thomas Aquinas Joe-Joe.) The key distinction the book is built upon is the distinction between Truth and Taste. When one makes a truth-claim, the claim is governed by the laws of logic. When one expresses a matter of taste one is only reporting facts about oneself (and trivial ones about the object of the statement). The key difference is this: when I say "Squash is gross" and you say "Squash is good" we aren't really disagreeing. All I mean is "I don't like squash" and all you mean is "I do like squash." Those statements don't conflict. But when I say "The top quark exists" and you say "There is no top quark" we've made conflicting truth-claims. When it comes to squash, we can both be right--not so with quarks. To say that there is a God is to make a truth-claim. It is to assert the existence of an individual, just like in the quark case. Either there's a top quark or there isn't-either there's a God or there isn't. This book will take you on a tour of such thoughts and help you get your thoughts on religion organized. There's still plenty of room for disagreement, so there's no dogmatism here (pace Pub Weekly gal), but at least we will know wherein we disagree and how to go about discovering the truth.
Adler's philosophy of religion for a global world  Jan 12, 2003
This book examines the world's major religions and the philosophical issue of unity of truth; that is, if something is true, anything that contradicts it must be false. Religion being the touchiest of subjects, this provocative book will inevitably rub some readers the wrong way. The list of potentially challenged readers would include believers of Eastern religions and those who hold that all the major religions are somehow equally valid and true.

Adler recalls that Arnold Toynbee once predicted that in the next millennium world government would come about, either by conquest or by federation, and would prosper only if a world cultural community emerged with an adopted universal religion. If Toynbee was correct, such a religion would likely be based on an as-yet-to-be-developed trancultural philosophical theology. Originally published in his 88th year, in this book Adler entered the ring to begin the dialogue. Open minded readers interested in the question of religion in a global world as well as the theologically-inclined will enjoy this book.


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