Comparative Religion

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By Daniel Gold

This publication addresses a primary limitation in spiritual reports. Exploring the strain among humanistic and social clinical techniques to pondering and writing approximately faith, Daniel Gold develops a line of argument that starts with the aesthetics of educational writing within the box. He indicates that winning writers on faith hire attribute aesthetic recommendations in speaking their visions of human truths. Gold examines those thoughts with reference to epistemology and to the research of faith as a collective exercise.

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In doing so, we are likely to end up creating a picture of humankind as a complex whole—not of stereotypes or even archetypes but of diverse identities moving in counterpoint within and between cultures. In thus helping to depict the real religious problems (and possibilities) inherent in complicated ongoing processes of cultural and economic globalization, history of religions can be politically progressive. Leavening an aggrandizing Enlightenment vision with a more integral plurality, history of religions is still distinguished by an enlightened analytic style that is not shared by all writers who have come in touch with the religions of the East.

Goodenough Remembers a Happy Faith In moving from matter-of-course belief in traditional doctrines as a child to a basic rejection of them as an analytic scholar, the intellectual side of Goodenough’s personal religious trajectory resembles Harrison’s. In the affective side of those trajectories, however, there was a crucial difference: Harrison never really seemed to accept her stepmother’s evangelical religion and disparaged it in her old age;39 Goodenough was, for periods, fully engaged in religious practice and remembered his experiences warmly.

Responding to their religious ob- Finding Middle Grounds 41 jects aesthetically, many scholars in their writing transform their reactions into aesthetic objects of their own creation. In doing so, successful interpretive writers usually manage to wield an imaginative synthesis of the opposite poles seen in the field. The explicit knowledge they offer is in the Enlightenment mold: analytic, grounded in a naturalistic worldview, oriented toward some larger academic question. But the details of tradition they show us lead to a romantic vision: a wonder at the power of myth, ritual, and religious life together with a sense that these may lead to the profoundest insights about humankind.

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