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SUBMITTED by John Cieslinski, Books, ETC. of Macedon NY (20-May-2010)

Why Bother with Bishop Butler?

On Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 4:00 PM., Books, ETC. in conjunction with The Bishop Butler Society, will host a presentation on Bishop Butler, his life and his major philosophies. Bishop Butler’s sermons are the only sermons in English routinely read by secular moral philosophers today. Bishop Butler’s analysis of human nature in terms of self-love, benevolence, compassion, resentment, and self-deception continue to stand watch on the border between the classical psychology of the passions and the modern psychology of the emotions. Bishop’s Butler’s insistence on the supremacy of conscience in human nature influenced Henry David Thoreau, and through Thoreau, M. K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bishop Butler was a strong advocate for Christianity and wrote one of the most effective chapters in the history of Christian apologetics, but since he recognized a common reason in all people and understood conscience as the candle of the Lord within us, he defended the rights of those who disagreed with him by following another religion or none.

Bishop Butler saw this life not as meaningless or as an end-in-itself but as probationary, as a test, trial or proof of character.

Bishop Butler was born into a Presbyterian family in 1692. As a young man he conformed to the Church of England, and pursued a stellar career as Preacher at the Rolls Chapel, Rector of Stanhope, Bishop of Bristol, Dean of St. Paul’s, and finally serving as Bishop of Durham, the third highest position in the Anglican hierarchy. He died in 1752 at Bath after treatment with the famous waters proved unsuccessful.

Butler’s works were used as textbooks throughout the UK and the USA during the 19th century, and he is cited or commented on by many famous writers including Jonathan Edwards, John Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the US, and S. T. Coleridge, J.S. Mill, Matthew Arnold, and W. E. Gladstone in the UK.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information, please call John Cieslinski at 585-474-4116 or email at books_etc@yahoo.com.


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2 Comments to "Bishop Butler Celebration at Books, ETC."

  1. Anonymous Said,

    Nice piece, John. I plan to attend.
    David White

    Posted on Sun May 23, 12:39:00 PM EDT

  2. Seth C. Burgess Said,

    I hadn't heard of Bishop Butler before--his works sound extremely interesting.

    The quotes on Dr. White's site give a quick snapshot of Butler's views...I especially like this one:

    "That mankind is a community, that we all stand in a relation to each other, that there is a public end and interest of society which each particular is obliged to promote is the sum of morals." - Fifteen Sermons, IX.8

    Posted on Tue May 25, 09:12:00 AM EDT


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