Meaning of RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY OF in English


the study, from a philosophical perspective, of the nature of religion and religious belief, including such specific questions as the existence and nature of God and the presence of evil and suffering in the world. In addition to treating what is commonly called the philosophy of religion, this article considers a wide spectrum of situations, experiences, and issues recognized as religious and endeavours to appraise the characteristic approaches and attitudes not only of the adherents of particular religions but also of those who stand outside any particular religion, whether as sympathizers or caustic critics. Outside the scope of this discussion, however, are questions relating to the study of religions and its methodology or questions relating to the types of argument by which one interpretation of a religious claim is preferred to another (see also religion, study of). Additional reading General introductions include H.D. Lewis, Philosophy of Religion (Teach Yourself Book) (1965); and J. Hick, Philosophy of Religion (1963). Introductory books that range over a somewhat narrower field include J.L. Goodall, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (1966); I.T. Ramsey, Religious Language (1957 and 1963); and Thomas Fawcett, The Symbolic Language of Religion (1971). Ninian Smart, Philosophers and Religious Truth, 2nd ed. (1969), centres discussion of some salient issues around particular philosophers. Ninian Smart, The Religious Experience of Mankind (1969); and Edward Geoffrey Parrinder, Comparative Religion (1962), provide general introductions to the comparative study of religions. In World Religions (1966), H.D. Lewis and R.L. Slater consider issues in the world religions that are highlighted by contemporary approaches in the philosophy of religion and the comparative study of religions respectively. In the psychology of religion, the classic work of William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902, reprinted 1952), is probably still the best introduction that might then be followed by a comprehensive survey of the contemporary field, such as L.W. Grensted, The Psychology of Religion (1952). Most of these books contain excellent bibliographies for further reading. Ninian Smart, Historical Selections in the Philosophy of Religion (1962); and I.T. Ramsey, Words About God (1971), are useful sourcebooks for some classic discussions of topics in the philosophy of religion; an excellent survey of modern thought is given in John Macquarrie, Twentieth-Century Religious Thought: The Frontiers of Philosophy and Theology, 19001960 (1963). F.R. Tennant, Philosophical Theology, 2 vol. (192830); H.H. Farmer, The World and God: A Study of Prayer, Providence and Miracle in Christian Experience (1935); and H.D. Lewis, Our Experience of God (1959), represent different general treatments of the subject. Wilfred C. Smith, Towards a World Theology: Faith and the Comparative History of Religion (1980), is an introduction to analysis of the interrelationship of various religious traditions; John B. Cobb and W. Widick Schroeder (eds.), Process Philosophy and Social Thought (1981), is a collection of essays on reshaping of social and political thinking; Michael D. Clark, Worldly Theologians: The Persistence of Religion in Nineteenth Century American Thought (1981), is an examination of the relationship between religion and secular thought; Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred (1982), is an exposition of neo-traditionalism in philosophy and religion; Frederick Copleston, Religion and the One: Philosophies East and West (1982), is a comparison of various world philosophies in their treatment of human religious experience. For discussion of particular religious philosophers see Terence J. German, Hamann on Language and Religion (1982), Robert J. Vanden Burgt, The Religious Philosophy of William James (1981); Henry S. Levinson, The Religious Investigations of William James (1981); and Jeffrey Stout, The Flight from Authority: Religion, Morality, and the Quest for Autonomy (1981).Books dealing with specific problems of religious belief include Peter R. Baelz, Prayer and Providence (1968); J. Hick, Evil and the God of Love (1966); A. Farrer, Love Almighty and Ills Unlimited (1966); I.T. Ramsey, The Problem of Evil (1972); W.T. Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy (1960); John Hick, God Has Many Names (1982); Leszek Kolakowski, Religion: If There Is No God: On God, the Devil, Sin, and Other Worries of the So-Called Philosophy of Religion (1982); Harry J. Ausmus, The Polite Escape: On the Myth of Secularization (1982); and Charles F. Keyes and E. Valentine Daniel (eds.), Karma: An Anthropological Inquiry (1983).

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