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Belief without BordersInside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious$
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Linda A. Mercadante

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199931002

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931002.001.0001

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Human Nature

Human Nature

(p.126) 6 Human Nature
Belief without Borders

Linda A. Mercadante

Oxford University Press

A brief survey of religious views on human nature—including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and others—sets the stage for learning what SBNRs borrow and reject. Most interviewees focus on the inherent goodness of human persons, believing strongly that religion, particularly Christianity, does not teach this. Although few refer directly to “original sin,” many clearly are rejecting it. They go further, however, and insist that humans are not just good, but inherently divine. They struggle to explain what happens, then, when things go “wrong” and use mostly therapeutic or deterministic explanations. Many reject evaluating behavior as either good or bad. They focus on choice, draw selectively on science, and sometimes see the “unawakened” self as the key problem. Copious quotes illustrate these points.

Keywords:   human nature, goodness, determinism, divine, therapeutic, behavior, good, bad, science, original sin

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