Heighten the Mind
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An outcome of the Enlightenment was the conviction that human reason was the only proper source of authority and legitimacy. The success of the scientific method resulted in profound questioning of political structures and religious orthodoxy, and it was assumed that rational thinking would bring a new world order characterised by freedom, tolerance and progress, and a few generations of education would result in the disappearance of religious faith. It has become increasingly difficult to believe in either the universal progress of a rational, tolerant and free global society, or that religious belief is withering away. Some of the military and industrial technology developed from scientific advancement is threatening the very survival of our species and it is argued that the increasing strength of religious convictions is deepening the divisions between our societies. However, there are alternative and more hopeful possibilities than setting scientific reason over against religious faith and some time ago Dr Mohammad Shomali and Lord Alderdice organized a small conference in Oxford of Iranian Shia thinkers and Protestant theologians from Britain and Ireland on Faith and Modernity to explore finding a better way forward. This small volume makes available the papers presented at that Oxford meeting.
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