The philosophy of religion has been a big topic since philosophy’s beginning, with Plato talking about religion’s role in The Republic. The field has broadened since those early days, but it has not lost its importance. Approximately 84% of the world’s population identified with a religion as of 2012, although the number of agnostics, atheists, and unaffiliated individuals has been rising steadily. Yet what it means to be religious differs by religion. The Dalai Lama has said that there is a common core to religions, and that one can be both Buddhist and Christian. Other religions—or sects within religions—see you as a sinner if you don’t profess allegiance to their truth.
Philosophy’s relation to religion has changed over time as the fields have developed. Where they once dealt with eternal truths in similar ways, they now encounter each other from very different social institutions (Academia vs. the Church) and have broadened their methodologies. The role they play in society, and relationship they have to a person’s life, can vary widely too. It is thus to our collective benefit to have philosophy and religion engage one another, since they both have things they can learn. Even if the truths of one do not correspond to the truths of the other, they can provide useful insight about how different segments of society both think and work. Here are some papers to increase our understanding.
- Mikel Burley, “Thickening description: towards an expanded conception of philosophy of religion,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, February 2018.
- Christian Early, “Theology After the Scientific Revolution: The Significance of Nancey Murphy’s Contribution to Philosophy of Religion,” Theology & Science, November 2017.
- Michael Schulz, “The Existential and Semantic Truth of Religion in Jürgen Habermas’s Political Philosophy and the Possibility of a Philosophy of Religion,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 2017.
- Thomas Carroll, “The Problem of Relevance and the Future of Philosophy of Religion,” Metaphilosophy, January 2016.
- Stephen Dawson, “Multidisciplinary, Comparative, and Interactive: Toward a Global Philosophy of Religion,” Religious Studies Review, September 2016.
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