Theology & Religion

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Macrocosmic and Microcosmic Theories of Cause and Effect in Belief Systems

Jeaneane Fowler was formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and later an Honorary Research Fellow. Her publications include Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices (Choice Outstanding Title, 1997); with books in the same series on Humanism, Chinese Religions, Tai Chi, Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism in Wales; books on the Philosophy of Hinduism and the Philosophy of Taoism; and a text and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.

This book examines the concepts of cause and effect from two dimensions. The first concerns the macrocosm of the universe or, in some cases, the multiverse, and how each belief system views creation. The second dimension explores the ways in which beliefs about creation influence the microcosmic world in terms of the nature of the self, the proximate goals within each system, the answers each belief system offers to the presence of evil and suffering in existence, and ideas about the ultimate goal of release from them. All these ideas inform and are fundamental to the understanding of the present-day practices of different faiths, presenting challenges for scriptural testimony balanced with existential living. A final chapter explores current research in physics concerning the beginnings of the cosmos and what implications such research might have for existence within it. Contents include:

  • Judaic-Christian Traditions
  • Islam and Sufism
  • Hinduism
  • Early Buddhism
  • Sikhism
  • Taoism
  • Recycled Stardust


Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-882-4
Paperback Price: £29.95 / $39.95
Release Date: June 2020
Page Extent / Format: 440 pp. 246 x 171 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface and Acknowledgements                 
1    Judaic and Christian Traditions
       The first account of creation
       The second account of creation
       Later interpretations of creation      
       Evolutionary theories
       Jewish responses
       Christian responses
       The concept of the Creator God
       The creation of human beings
       Evolving theories of creation
       Causes of good and evil          
       Jewish theodicies
       Christian theodicies
       The eschaton
       Creator and creation

2    Islam
       Islamic attitudes to causality and creation
       The Qur'an
       The philosophers: Falasifah
       Ibn Sina (Avicenna)
       Ibn Rushd (Averroes)
       Ibn al-'Arabi
       The theologians: Mutakallimun
       The Mu'tazilites         
       Al-Ash'ari and the Ash'arite school
       Good and evil
       Hidden forces of causality: Angels and satans
       Determinism and free will

3    Hinduism
       The Vedas
       The Vedanta
       The darshanas
       Purva Mimansa          
       Vaisheshika and Nyaya
       Sankhya and Yoga
       Vedanta schools: Advaita Vedanta
       Vedanta schools: Vishishta-advaita
       Devotional Hinduism

4    Early Buddhism           
       The life and death of the Buddha
       The Buddha's theory of causality
       The Buddha's Dhamma          
       The three characteristics of existence
       The Four Noble Truths
       Enlightenment: Nibbana
       Dependent Origination
       The macrocosm         
       Later trends: The rise of the different schools
       Mahayana Buddhism
       Madhyamaka and the philosophy of Nagarjuna
       Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

5    Classical Taoism
       Good, evil and suffering in ancient China
       Classical Taoism       
       The interconnected cosmos: The I Ching       
       Yin and yang
       The Five Agents          
       The early philosophers of Taoism
       The concept of Tao
       Creation and reversal
       The alchemical analysis of the human being
       The Taoist anatomy of the body         
       Good, evil and suffering in philosophical Taoism       
       Forces of good, evil and suffering in religious Taoism
       Liberation: Returning to Tao

6    Recycled Stardust
       Primordiality and the "big bang"
       The cosmic microwave background
       The creation of atoms
       The birth of galaxies
       The lives of stars
       The birth of stars
       The death of stars
       Black holes
       The causal laws of the Universe
       The four causal field forces of the Universe
       Einstein's theories of relativity
       Atomic elements
       The quantum universe
       Atoms: Causative building blocks of matter
       Subatomic particles
       The nucleus
       Strange realities and mysteries of the Void
       The end of the Universe
       Recycled stardust

7    Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Atoms: Causality and the Death of the Self
       The brain
       Nature and nurture
       Free will or determinism
Further Reading


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