The focus on the figures and events of church history brings out the complexities of the lives and actions of these men and women. The text also focuses on the lived experiences of Christians, the under-represented voices of women and people of color. The book also explores the church's response to the growing opportunities for participation in society. The women of the church were particularly involved in shaping the church into a more inclusive place, a place open to participation by women. The book also examines the church's changing response to new social ills such as alcoholism, drug abuse, pornography, and prostitution.
In his new volume, Albert Camus offers one of the most audacious arguments for secularism in the twentieth century. In The Rebel, Camus argues that a “rebel” is someone who refuses to accept the inevitable. For Camus, the rebel is someone who takes a stand against the unreason of the world and, more importantly, against himself and the world. Though Camus was never a political revolutionary, he went further in his argument for rebellion than almost any of his contemporaries. He engaged in a bizarre dialogue with Charles Péguy and Jean-Paul Sartre, and with Jean Genet in particular. Camus also attacked American culture and took up arms against the war in Algeria. In the end, it was this last rebellion, against the events that would become known as the Algerian War, that marked Camus’ final break with his native France and that led to his suicide.“The rebel is on the side of what he hates,” Camus wrote in the prologue to The Rebel. “He is for himself. He is for the world that inspires him, the world that, perhaps, should inspire him.”In The Rebel, Camus traces the history of rebellion. He begins with Socrates, the man who began the tradition of questioning everything. Socrates tried to rebel against Athens, but he rebelled against the populace, not the state. Similarly, Camus argues, today, a man cannot be a rebel against the state. The state is a structure of reason, and rebellion necessarily gives way to rational argument. In The Rebel, Camus wrote: “It is from revolt, from questioning the structure of society, that all liberty arises.”
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