A pragmatic critique of three kinds of religious naturalism

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
No Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



This paper takes a critical look at a number of recent attempts to reconcile religious and scientifi c ways of thinking. Three basic programs of what I call "religious naturalism" are discussed: (1) attempts to synthesize science and religion by defending a combination of (Christian) theism and naturalism by means of the concept of emergence; (2) "demythologized" interpretations of religious statements, allegedly rendering them compatible with science (for example, in John Dewey's pragmatic naturalism or in the religious naturalism inherited from the Chicago School of liberal theology); and (3) a form of naturalism analogous to Arthur Fine's "natural ontological attitude" (NOA), debated in the philosophy of science over the past two decades. I suggest that (1) amounts to a nonreductively naturalist metaphysics, whereas (2) is a nonmetaphysical and (3) a postmetaphysical program in the philosophy of religion. It is argued, among other things, that while the concept of emergence has become increasingly relevant in the philosophy of mind and science, its place in the philosophy of religion remains obscure. Similarly, nonmetaphysical discussions of religious experiences or "the religious" à la Dewey and his followers are difficult to combine with genuinely religious views. Further, it is hard to see how postmetaphysical naturalism (NOA) could be part of a philosophically responsible program at all, because of its diffi culties in accounting for the normativity of ontological commitments. It is proposed that, instead of elaborating on these pseudo-solutions, the problem of the relation between science and religion should be subordinated to a pragmatist re-evaluation.

A pragmatic critique of three kinds of religious naturalism

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion



Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 14 14 5
Full Text Views 61 61 39
PDF Downloads 9 9 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0