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The Sacred and the Person

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Abstract:

The sacred has survived where religion has not. The sacred is acknowledged by prominent atheists and agnostics. They emphatically agree that the person is sacred and less clearly that nature is as well. Closer examination of their remarks shows that today the sacred comes in two versions, the rightful sacred, best known under the heading of human rights, and the graceful sacred of concrete reality—things and practices of nature and art particularly. The division of the sacred into its rightful and graceful versions (a division that is mirrored in the distinction philosophers make between the right and the good) is the crucial cultural event of the modern era. The two are distinct at least and sometimes thought to be incompatible. Yet they can and must be reconciled and seen as complementary—a general requirement of human well-being. And for a Christian like me they find their perfect union in the truly sacred person—God.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0020174X.2011.559052

Affiliations: The University of Montana, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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