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Belief or Nonbelief?: A Dialogue…

Belief or Nonbelief?: A Dialogue Introduction by Harvey Cox (original 1996; edition 2001)

by Umberto Eco

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359830,295 (3.55)6
Title:Belief or Nonbelief?: A Dialogue Introduction by Harvey Cox
Authors:Umberto Eco
Info:Arcade Publishing (2001), Paperback, 102 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:religion, at home

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Belief or Nonbelief? by Umberto Eco (1996)



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This slim volume is a collection of letters written in the 1990s between Umberto Eco, renowned author, scholar, and atheist, and Carlo Maria Martini, a cardinal of the Catholic Church. The letters, which were originally published in an Italian newspaper, present these men's opposing points of view on a number of philosophical and theological topics, including: secular and religious perspectives on the end of the world, the politically fraught issue of when human life begins, the Catholic Church's refusal to admit women to the priesthood, and the ultimate source of human ethics. Though Eco and Martini often disagree, their letters maintain a consistent tone of civility and open-mindedness that is all too rare in public discourse nowadays.

I enjoyed this book, and I think it's somewhat unique in that both believers and nonbelievers could get something out of it. As I mentioned, both Eco and Martini approach the conversation with sincerity and goodwill, never mocking or belittling each other's positions, but actually having a genuine dialogue and hoping to learn from one another. I wish our public figures in general would take the hint! I will say, though, that I don't think these letters would actually change anyone's mind; an atheist wouldn't suddenly convert to Christianity, nor would a religious person lose his/her faith because of this book. Because the letters were originally written for newspaper publication, they couldn't be long or in-depth enough to explore the topics thoroughly. Basically, I came away from this book wanting more, but I'd still recommend it if the subject matter appeals to you.
  christina_reads | Mar 14, 2016 |
En esta edición, especial para regalar con el periódico Público, el subtítulo habla del fin del mundo cuando en las demás ediciones que he encontrado se habla del fin del milenio.El caso es que la referencia a la Apocalipsis que ya se hace en el primer escrito de Eco a Martini está ligada tanto al fin del mundo como (históricamente) al fin de milenio. Los textos se escribieron entre 1995 y 1996.
  pepesaura | Apr 26, 2011 |
In a time when academia and scholarly religion seems terribly at odds with the living Catholic faith, two men open a dialogue which is indeed a confrontation. They confront however, not each other, but the issues of apocalyptic perspective, abortion, women in the Church, violence and much more. These two men recognize these issues not as polemics to be tossed back and forth for endless bantering, but as fundamental to outlining a definition of "humanity." Both men are scholars and people of faith, aware of the cultural and social millieu around them. Although the paperback version claims "A Dialogue" it is most definitely a confrontation that forces the reader to make some decisions or at least consider issues that are all to easily relegated to consideration in a distant sphere rather than our hearts. ( )
1 vote rebcamuse | Jan 11, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Umberto Ecoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Martini, Carlo Mariamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Severino, EmanueleContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In this book, a Vatican cardinal debate issues of religion, spirituality, and philosophy, asking why belief is important, and moving on to ethics, abortion, Catholicism, women, and the apocalypse.

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